The Beyond Hashtags Mentoring Program at Dove Academy is not just an ordinary afterschool program. It is a program designed to inspire, motivate, and change the lives of young men by equipping them with strong life skills through transparent leadership.
After being hired as the next principal at Dove Academy, Tommy Brooks quickly noticed a need for more positive mentoring and role models. Brooks connected with Michael Hale Jr., a community member and inspirational leader in Detroit, who was launching a new mentoring program that would be the perfect pilot program for students at Dove Academy.
The Beyond Hashtags mentoring program was launched in late Fall 2018.
Since the call went out to young men grades sixth through eighth to be part of the Beyond Hashtags mentoring program, they have 27 committed young men who come weekly on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m.
Each session focuses on one of the four pillars of the program: belief, clarity, focus and emotions. The program participants are figuring out their self-identity while learning how to think critically so that they can make personal changes which translate into positive behavior at school and home.
They have outside speakers, many of whom are from the area, and have come from similar backgrounds to inspire and make connections for jobs or internships.
One of the biggest highlights is the experience-learning events that they get to encounter.
Last week, the students raised money to go to an etiquette dinner. They used creative ways to raise money for transportation, dinner and the speaker. At the event, the students and school leaders sat together at dining tables with formal place settings. They learned how to present oneself during dinner and how to eat each course, including the correct techniques for talking to professionals over a meal.
“The students have grown together and are learning how to hold each other accountable,” said Principal Brooks. “The students have created their own mantra and they remind each other of it all the time – “I’m phenomenal, and I can do all things.”
“The program is truly making a difference in our school culture,” Principal Brooks said.
Preliminary results are showing that there has been a reduction in the disruption and behavioral issues exhibited in the classroom. There is also hope that all GPAs will have improved beyond expectations.
Although this program only currently serves young men at Dove Academy. Some female teachers have come forward and submitted a proposal to start a program similar, which would target serving young women in the school.
The founder of Beyond Hashtags Mentoring Program has also hopes of starting this program at Bradford Academy and any other Choice School Academies.
“We are thankful and encouraged by the Beyond Hashtag Mentoring Program,” Principal Brooks said. “This is just one of the many programs that demonstrates why #DoveNation is such an incredible place for our young people of Detroit.”