On Saturday, November 7, REACH held its annual "Meet Your Mentor Day" as part of the REACH Mentor Program. Due to the Regis Scholarship Exam taking place at Regis, the annual event took place at the Loyola School on 83rd Street.
Every year, Regis sophomores are paired with first-year REACH students in a 3-year, one-on-one mentorship program. The program is designed to guide REACH students through their middle school experience . Mentors can provide them with additional motivation and support—social, intellectual, and spiritual.
This year, after a very competitive application process, 37 sophomores were selected to serve as mentors to the REACH class of 2018. Each pair will remain matched for the next three years. The day included mentor/mentee pairings, a series of one-on-one games and ice-breakers, group discussions about leadership and how to take advantage of a mentoring relationship, and a chance for Regis students to meet our REACH families.
"The REACH mentor program is special because of how much learning goes on in these interactions," said Alan Garcia, REACH Dean of Student Recruiting and Admissions.
"More often than not, our mentors have much more to learn from their mentees than the other way around. Although the mentors have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I hear from Regians how much their mentee's life inspires them."
With all three REACH classes now in the mentor program, a total of 98 Regians serve as mentors. The newest Regians chosen for the program are as excited as ever to begin their mentorship.
"It was really special for me to be a part of a program I have admired for several years," said Matteo Palacardo '18. "My older brother was a mentor and I always looked forward to the opportunity to apply to be a part of REACH. I love being in REACH because it opens me up to a diverse, fun group of kids that show loads of potential."
When asked about the experience of his first meeting with his mentee, Palacardo noted, "It would be hard for it not be intimidating. However, after a handshake, we laughed it off and finally broke the ice between us. We shared many common interests and tried to find riddles to stump one another. We also created a secret handshake and plan to be the coolest mentoring pair in REACH history."
"In a way, the mentor program helps bridge the Regis student body with the lives of New York City's inner-city youth. For how much our mentors have in common with their mentees academically in terms of aptitude and intellectual curiosity, roughly 80% of our REACH students will be the first in their families to go to college," added Garcia.
"It's a humbling and enriching experience for everyone."