The National Mentorship Initiative at Green Dot Public Schools continues to roll out to students in Animo City of Champions in Los Angeles and Hillcrest High School in Memphis on its way to impact each of our more than 14,000 students.
Our program is already serving students at both schools who benefit from a professional mentor from companies that partnered with us. Anchor partners include FedEx, Microsoft, Pacific Charter School Development and Chartmetric. Green Dot supports all students to reach their full potential and support pathways to success, which is why our schools are purposefully located in neighborhoods that have been historically underserved, primarily enrolling students of color.
“To me, this is about more than just connecting mentees and mentors. It is about turning walls into doors for our students, providing new perspectives for our mentors and partners, and uplifting entire communities, said Theophilus Ossei-Anto, Green Dot’s Director of Mentorship.
For Theophilus Ossei-Anto, mentorship is the gift of sharing knowledge and development of skills through relationships. These are employees from the participating partners, who spend 3-4 hours per month connecting with students online, guided by a structured curriculum that emphasizes socio-emotional learning, relationship building, career exploration, and networking.
For nine years, Ossei-Anto taught in schools in Memphis and Los Angeles, where he recognized the incredible potential the students had to succeed in the classroom and beyond. He also saw the systemic barriers students were confronted with every day, whether because of their race, socioeconomic status, or the zip code where they were born or live.
“ I recognized the incredible potential they had to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Allowing all students the opportunity to succeed requires a collective commitment to transform public education to eliminate the access and opportunity gaps that exist between low-income students and their more affluent peers,” adds Ossei-Anto.
Both students and mentors benefit from this Initiative. Students will have support to improve their academic, social and economic prospects, hone leadership and management skills, and expand their professional network. Mentors will themselves develop connections with students that will help them in turn, providing an empowering opportunity to give back to historically underserved communities and youth.
Giving back has been a backbone in Green Dot Public Schools’ Director of Mentorship since he was a student shortly after arriving in the United States. Ossei-Anto immigrated to the United States from Ghana as a child, and he credits his mother for instilling in him and his sisters the importance of living generously, as he describes it.
“Every holiday season, as we packed food that we needed ourselves into boxes to donate to the local food pantry, she would say: ‘Even when you don’t have much, you have to give what you have to others.’ So, I lived by that value; volunteering in homeless shelters and leading service trips throughout high school and college,” remembers Ossei-Anto.
Our National Mentorship Initiative seeks to impact all students across our schools in California, Tennessee and Texas in, as Ossei-Anto concludes: “an exchange of wisdom focused on success in school, college, career, and life.”