At the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program January session we returned from in-person to virtual workshops due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron virus. Fortunately, because we were virtual from Match 2019 to May 2022, we were able to pivot effectively, and the Mentees had a rewarding experience. We had four workshops as part of the January 2022 session: Mock Interviews, How to Finance a College Education, the Benefits of Journaling, and L.A.M.P. Mentee Feedback.
Mock Interviews: The Mock Interviews are an annual part of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. We had 15 African American men serve as interview panelists who were in five breakout rooms. Each panel had a series of questions for and a resume from the Mentees in their group. The Mentees prepared their resumes as part of the October 2021 and the December 2021 workshops on resume writing. The panel of three interviewers interviewed each Mentee for 25 minutes and provided a 10-minute feedback experience. The purpose of the Mock Interview is to have the Mentees experience an interview setting and receive feedback on their posture, eye contact, clarity of responses. While the questions relate to topics including the Mentees perceptions of their world, their leadership style and experiences, and their experience in handling challenging situations, the panelist do not assess the content of the answer. Rather, the panelists observe how the Mentee conducts himself during the interview and provide constructive feedback on how the Mentee can improve his performance as an interviewee. We also encourage the Mentees to use some of the time to “interview” the panelist about their careers and paths to success and to request email contact information so the Mentee can connect with the interviewer after the session. Several Mentees have availed themselves of this opportunity to connect with one or more of the interviewers. As has occurred in the past, the Mentees report that the Mock Interview is one of the most impactful workshops in the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program.
How to Finance a College Education: This hour-long workshop is another of the annual workshops of the Program. For the past five years, Associate Dean Diane Anchundia, from the University of Southern California Financial Aid Office, has been the facilitator of this workshop. Dean Anchundia focuses the workshop on three aspects of financing a college education: Loans, Grants and Scholarships. She teaches about the financial aid process and provides information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and how college use this form in the financial aid decisions. She also touches upon how a Mentee can research scholarships online. The L.A.M.P. Mentor Program promotes its Mentees to attend college and this workshop provides vital information for them for when they navigate the college and financial aid application process.
The Benefits of Journaling: This is a new workshop for the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. The facilitator was Karima Fuentes, an educator with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the mother of a L.A.M.P. Mentee. Ms. Fuentes started her hour-long workshop with an introduction to the benefits of journaling for students. This introduction included a description of journaling, how journaling can make an individual more efficient and effective, particularly when addressing a project, or even life challenges, and why journaling is part of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. She then introduced the Mentees to the concept of learning styles. Her approach was that it is important to understand your learning style, how you take in information, so that you can identify the best way to communicate information out. The brain process for intake and output is basically the same. As she has said on numerous occasions, we often spend more time focusing on learning styles and not enough time, if any, of communication output styles. She had the Mentees take a short online test to identify which. learning style – auditory, visual, or tactile – was most predominate. With that information in hand, Ms. Fuentes introduced the Mentees to various forms of chronicling their experiences in L.A.M.P and in life that were in line with the various learning styles. Once the Mentees chronicled their experiences, they could provide a journal entry for their personal use and to forward to the Program Coordinator. The workshop was very interactive. It included links to various platforms for chronically experiences and drafting and storing journal entries in a systematic way and videos on how to use the various platforms. One Mentee commented that the video showing how to create a table of contents in his Google Drive would be beneficial for all of his Google Drive work for school. The Mentees seemed to enjoy and gain benefit from the workshop.
Feedback with Ramsey Jay: This approximately 30-minute workshop provided the Mentees to talk about what they enjoyed and liked about the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, including the workshops that they found most beneficial, and an opportunity for them to suggest changes to the program that is their view would enhance the experience. Ramsey Jay, Jr., is the President of the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation and provides challenging and stimulating Ice Breakers at the beginning of most of the sessions. As part of the workshop, Mr. Jay ask the Mentees to imagine that they were speaking to a group of 8th grade students, and to articulate what they would say to the students about why the students should enroll in the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. Here are some of the reasons the Mentees articulated:
- L.A.M.P. teaches you useful things you can use in high school and life
- L.A.M.P. breeds success and if you want to get to where you want to go, it is essential
- While it did not appear valuable at first, as I have gone through the program, I realized that the things we learned did and do have value for me in my school and workspaces.
- Offers a unique and rare opportunity to actually meet and form a community with other young Black men like yourself.
- You will learn something new at every session
As you can see, the Mentees of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program appreciate the education, exposure and experiences that the Program provides. You can be a part of what the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program does by supporting through a donation to the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation, Inc. Here is a link to our donation page – gzbfoundation.org/donate.