Teens Inspire Camden City Children through Mentoring Program

Unique mentoring and academic program "inspires children to aspire to greater things"
Saturday, May 19, 2012

CAMDEN,NJ-High school volunteers from Center For Family Services Quixote Quest program spent their Saturday afternoon mentoring and educating students from Lanning Square Family School (LSFS) as part of their “Qrew’s Nest” initiative.   

Qrew’s Nest is a community of twenty teens who come together on Saturday afternoon’s during the school year with twenty 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders from LSFS. For an hour each week, the children are encouraged to love reading and experience fun through math games. The effort to strengthen the child’s academics is enhanced by the fact that the teen mentors (the Big’s) form a special relationship with one child (the Little’s)in the second hour of the program through special mentoring moments and reinforcing incentives.  

“The power of this relationship does more than tutor,” says Frank McGough, Program Director of Quixote Quest. “It inspires the children to aspire to greater things.” Quixote Quest teens practice the philosophy of volunteering called “Starfishing”, a style of community service that encourages them to make a difference to one person at a time-by changing the direction of that person’s life or their quality of life. Qrew’s Nest is the perfect reflection of Starfishing.   

But it’s not the just the students from LSFS whose lives are being changed-the volunteers are being impacted in ways they never could have imagined. “Qrew’s Nest has had a tremendous impact on me,” says Karly Forman, a high school senior. “I am amazed by my Little’s ability to be so compassionate despite the constant struggles surrounding her. This experience has really made me want to give other kids like my Little the same chances I have been fortunate to have. I now feel I need to level the playing field between the opportunities of inner city kids and the suburban kids because they both really deserve the same chances.”   

This is the first year for the Qrew’s Nest initiative whose outcomes are being measured by the Rowan University’s Early Childhood Education Department. Initial results are promising as the teen volunteers bring their skills and dedication into the lives of these students. The hope is that Qrew’s Nest mentoring and tutoring will both raise grades and self esteem. “Something special is happening here,” says McGough, “we can all feel it.”

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Center For Family Services: Center For Family Services is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve a better life through vision, hope and strength. It is their vision that all people lead capable, responsible, fulfilled lives in strong families and healthy communities.

Quixote Quest: Quixote Quest is a youth volunteer program at Center For Family Services focusing on teen participation in community service. High school students (age 14-18) receive guidance and support to positively impact their community through a commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.  

For more information on Quixote Quest and Center For Family Services please visit www.centerffs.org.