Most people believe that the youth grows up to be an outcome of their environment. So does that mean people should support the belief that adolescent students from different backgrounds will not achieve greater academics?
At Kean University, the Lambda Theta Alpha (LTA) Latin sorority hosts an Aspire High Youth Development Program annually, sometimes once a semester. This program is a mentorship program designed to steer the youth in a positive direction by involving them in new activities, giving them guidance, and assisting them with developmental goals.
Domenica Flores, senior accounting major, is the community service and fundraising chair for the alpha chapter of the LTA Latin sorority. She said, "These influences serve to increase our youth’s self-esteem and emotional well being. This ultimately results in altered patterns of behavior leading to a successful future for the youth. We help middle school and high school students that have parents that did not have the chance to attend college, to foresee a long-term goal in achieving education. We inspire and empower both young men and ladies to see that nothing is impossible. The event we host every year focuses a different key point that develops adolescents in a better way."
This semester they are focusing on leadership. The group has the opportunity to give one-on-one and group mentoring through our college volunteers of clubs and organizations. These students give their time, energy, and compassion to ensure the redirection of youth lives.
Aspire High mentors assists the youth to understand personal strengths, while fostering academic, social, and emotional growth. Through this process, Aspire High mentors assist in building a college and career-readiness culture based on early awareness by nurturing youth confidence.
"Aspire High is always looking for mentors of all ages to come and participate. The adolescents that visit the different universities in which LTA are charted in are usually in their middle school or high school careers. We focus on getting college students to volunteer because it gives the kids a sense of connection to see what they could aspire to be in the future, which is to be like the college students who are their mentors. We always get good feedback and the mentors love to give back to help inspire these underprivileged middle school students for a better future," said Flores.
Although, they host an Aspire High event once a year or two ever so often, there is always future mentoring available for the college students at other universities or through the Aspire High Youth Development after school program.
This semester the alpha chapter of LTA is hosting Aspire High on Saturday, Nov. 4th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Miron Student Center (MSC) room 228.
This event happens because one of the LTA sisters, Lillian Perez, had a vision for the future of kids everywhere. Perez is the founder of Aspire High Youth Development Program. She wanted to be able to show kids the possibilities of what they could accomplish if they were just shown the way. She believed that there are so many young adolescents who feel they will not go anywhere because they believe they are a product of their environment and she did not want to see that any longer.
Flores added, "She went to college and after she finished, she came back, helped all her young family members on how to apply to college and they all ended up going to a university. This led her to starting the program and beginning to pursue her goal. Her vision was coming true. She reached out to the sisters of our organization and we have helped her ever since to make her vision even bigger. It's a passion she has so much, she does it as a full-time job, while we are here to help her see it through."
For students who would love to help lead adolescent students to a better future of education, do not hesitate to reach out to the LTA sisters and help out.