“We’re all on Team Jaime*,” said Kevin, a K-5 Professional Mentor at Friends of the Children–Seattle. “It’s a team of people who want to see Jaime thrive in school.”
Jaime is in 4th grade at Concord Elementary School. He and Kevin were paired together last summer. Over the first few months of their mentoring relationship, Kevin and Jaime have learned a lot about each other while chatting about anime in the car, connecting with Jaime’s friends at his family’s store or the barbershop, and playing hide and seek at the Friends office. Jaime is friendly, creative, and has a whole community supporting him to succeed.
During Kevin and Jaime’s time together, they have also prioritized Jaime’s reading skills. Jaime, like many students, saw his academic performance challenged by the pandemic. At the start of the school year, Jaime’s mom asked Kevin if he could help Jaime catch up to his grade level. Knowing that they would need Jaime’s teacher’s support as well, they all connected to work as a team.
Jaime’s caregivers check in regularly to share strategies to support Jaime. Jaime’s teacher shares insights from his interactions in the classroom to identify barriers impacting Jaime’s focus. Kevin is developing his own professional skills to provide Jaime with more effective tools to improve his reading.
At our Back to School event, youth picked out a new book of their choice. When youth can connect with their reading material, they stay more engaged!
As the team supports Jaime to tackle this challenge together, Kevin has set a goal to visit the library and read with Jaime for 30 minutes each month. With this small step in the right direction, Kevin wants Jaime to build a habit of focusing during reading time. If sitting still becomes difficult, they break the session up into smaller chunks. Jaime may not love reading, but he does like Spiderman, so Kevin will ask the librarian to find Marvel books that align with Jaime’s interests and reading level.
When Jaime completes a paragraph, he gets to pick out a reward. “Jaime’s number one interest right now is crystals,” Kevin said. “He carries a few in his pockets everywhere he goes. That gives me a way to incentivize him when he is doing well: I can buy him a crystal.”
Jaime’s thirty minutes of focus per month will not only help him to be successful in school--he'll enjoy reading a lot more in the process. Team Jaime can't wait to see the impact Jaime’s hard work will make by the end of the school year!