I had the privilege of talking with Tom, one of our new mentors. He just started meeting his guy who is a Freshman. He was sharing with me how he and his mentee are excited about connecting each week and what his mentee is sharing with him. He’s talkative and creative. He struggles at home and he is failing over half of his classes.

Reminds me of me… During my first year of High School, I failed EVERY class, yes even gym. For me, life was not about grades and homework, it was about surviving. I didn’t hate school, I just had more important things on my mind like keeping it together because life outside of school was tough and I was a pretty discouraged kid inside.

I was blessed to have a couple people intervene and remain present in my life my last two years of high school. I graduated with one extra half credit! I had a 1.0 accumulative GPA by the end of my senior year.

My point is this – Just as “wealth doesn’t equal health”, neither does a 4.0 mean a student has it all together. In my time of working with youth, I have talked with boys and girls who had a high GPA but struggled with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, anger, etc etc. They may have been getting a 4.0 in school, but they were getting a 1.0 in their struggles in life.

As a thriving community, lets not think that just because our school system produces one of the highest graduation rates and  GPA averages, that our job is done. GPA for life has farther implications. Our job as caring adults never ends. Each year, 5% of students (or 600 students), 5th grade and up, get identified as needing one on one support. 80% of those students who get into the mentor program, are invited for reasons other than poor grades. Thanks to Tom, his mentee will get a chance to focus on life and academics as they develop their mentor relationship.