Street Scholars Spring 2014 Semester Success! Print E-mail
pizza party
Street Scholars Students and Mentors, Spring 2014

With the end of the academic year winding down, the Street Scholars Program celebrates the success of its first cohort of scholars! This semester, we were able to enroll 19 Merritt College students in our peer-mentoring program. With hard work and perseverance, 11 of these students successfully completed the semester, passing all their courses, avoiding drug and alcohol relapse, and avoiding re-arrest. Furthermore, 8 of these students were actively on parole or probation. We know that this was no easy feat, and we want to congratulate the commitment of these students!

The peer mentors put their skills and training to use helping our formerly incarcerated students address their unique academic challenges. “They always tell the formerly incarcerated, ‘Go to school and improve your life’,” peer mentor Ron says, “But nobody tells you how. How do you go to school? That sounds like a really simple question but it’s not.” Our peer mentors helped students learn how to navigate the academic sphere—teaching them how to enroll in courses, how to interact with professors, and how to study efficiently. With their help, Ron says, “many scholars developed the resiliency to persevere through some of those obstacles and showed just how committed they were to staying in school.”

But let’s not forget the successes of our peer mentors, who have shown tremendous patience, commitment, and growth. By putting their training into practice this semester, they learned how to support students who faced life challenges stemming from poverty, neighborhood violence, and health issues. The peer mentors developed the skills to adapt to these different situations, and they all agree they have grown from this experience, as peer mentor Yema expresses, “It’s changing; everyday it’s different. And we all learn as scholars.”

Moving forward, the Street Scholars program is busy preparing for its summer curriculum. The scholars will take part in evaluating the program and their feedback will be incorporated into efforts to strengthen and improve the program going forward. We are also so excited to be training this semester’s scholars in the peer mentoring process, so that in Fall 2014, they too can impart their expertise to the next generation of Street Scholars!

So, we end this semester on a note of promise for the future, as Earthy says, we hope to “see our work have longevity in the hearts of those that are trying to make change in this community.” This promise of change in the lives of the formerly incarcerated would not be achievable without the efforts and hard work of the Street Scholars peer mentors and the students themselves, so thank you!  We are proud of you!

THANK YOU MERRITT COLLEGE! We are grateful to the Merritt College administration for its support and guidance this semester.  Their assistance and welcoming attitude towards the Street Scholars program ensured its success.  We look forward to another semester on the Merritt College campus. 

ron  jonathanMentor, Ron Moss, with Scholar, Jonathan Roach


yema and gina

Scholar, Gina Martinez, with Mentor, Yema Lee