Members of the Mentors Program form a unique team dedicated to serving children in West Philadelphia public schools. Under the direction of senior faculty at Penn's Graduate School of Education, participants mentor children in elementary school, devoting at least two hours a week to such activities, as well as attending monthly dinners with faculty to discuss their experiences. The goals of the program are to serve the community and to build a circle of friends, but an additional bonus is that members gain exceptional pre-career experience.
Nestled in the second floor of the Baby Quad are the nearly thirty members of the Riepe Mentors residential program. They are led by Graduate Associate Chase Staub, who hails from Georgia. The Mentor Program was developed eight years ago by Dr. Fantuzzo, the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations at Penn and is currently under the direction of Dr. Betsy Rymes, Associate Professor of Linguistics in GSE. The purpose of the program is to connect two communities: our Riepe Mentors freshmen, and the students and faculty from Samuel Powel Elementary School, a public elementary school in West Philadelphia. The first community is built in Riepe. Mentors come from cities all across the country and around the world, but are linked by their shared commitment to community service. They want to share their passions with children from our neighborhood who benefit from their weekly encouragement and support. The second community is a vibrant community at Powell: children, parents,and teachers. The two communities come together at Powell each week to support the learning and growth of both Powell and Penn students. Mentors become a special part of the life of the school and through their service they create a special connection between Riepe and Powell. Last year the Mentors provided over 1,000 hours of service to Powell students. Mentors also serve Riepe by organizing house-wide community service projects. These involve improving playground areas and building up Powell’s Library. Insufficient funds for books and library personnel threaten closure of this Library every year. However, each year Riepe residents have contributed time and money to keep the library open. This is important since there is no public library in the neighborhood. Look for community service opportunities and fundraising events sponsored by Mentors and come and join us. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, ―What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Serving others is a great way to enhance what lies within us!
To Apply to this Program:
Submit an online housing application and list this program as one of your top two choices. You're required to submit an essay as part of the Residential Program application process. Follow the essay prompt as indicated in the application. You can also visit the Residential Program page for additional information.