Employees helping eighth-graders reach ‘their highest potential’

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Mentoring4 sizedSince October, 15 UAB employees have been mentoring eighth-graders from Hayes K-8 School to help improve the students’ self-esteem and create higher education aspirations. 

UAB’s partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham is a pilot for a Proof Positive program they hope to expand to more companies in the fall, said Jessica Whatley, BBBS director of public relations and marketing.

“Providing mentorship to a young person is a simple but meaningful role,” said Josephine Banks, director of UAB Human Resources Strategic Initiatives. “Being a mentor in the Proof Positive program has given me an opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with my mentee, who is is an honor student with aspirations to attend Harvard University. I can provide guidance, support and encouragement to help enhance her academic success, increase her self-esteem and introduce her to new opportunities. I want to help her reach this goal.”

Studies show that youth participants in workplace mentoring programs perform better in school, want to go to college and begin thinking more about their future. Proof Positive focuses on character-building, career-planning and communication to help achieve that. Hayes K-8 School, an at-risk Birmingham school, was selected by the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, a program sponsor.

“As a mentor, you not only help your Little Brothers and Sisters reach their highest potential but you also let them know that their success in life is important to you,” said Harlan Sands, vice provost for administration and quality improvement. “You enrich lives and, ultimately, the future of our communities.”

Sands, board president for BBBS, was instrumental in bringing the program to UAB and is a mentor.

“My life is enriched by the time I spend with my Little Brother,” Sands said. “Getting to see just a glimpse of the world through his eyes is a precious gift.”

Mentoring2 sizedThe monthly mentoring sessions will end in May and resume with the fall semester. Employees interested in participating for the 2014-15 school year can contact program coordinator Stacey Miles at 939-5590. BBBS is accepting applications now, and volunteer training dates will be announced later.

More information about BBBS programs can be found on its website.

Mentors in the program include:

  • Harlan Sands, vice provost for administration and quality improvement
  • Josh Carter, projects analyst, Office of the Provost
  • Carol Motley, associate professor , School of Business
  • Hilary Carter, business intelligence specialist, Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
  • Elizabeth Vaughan, program specialist, Service Learning
  • Lee Smith, executive director, Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
  • Jon Corliss, director of Business Intelligence, Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
  • Mary Crenshaw, compliance coordinator, University Compliance Office
  • Josephine Banks, director of UAB Human Resources Strategic Initiatives
  • Daron Drew, HRM staffing specialist
  • Kamala Wilborn, HRM specialist
  • Kendra Thompson, HRM specialist
  • Roland Harris, HRM consultant
  • LaQuita Graham, financial officer, Human Resources
  • Aerial Wilkins, student assistant, UAB Child Development Center