Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Five Tips for Running A Mentoring Program

I'd like to give a shout out to my new friend Bud Tamarkin. He's 84 years old, lives in Florida and has decided, in his spare time, to start working with the under-served African-American boys in his school district.

He's met with the principal of his local school and is setting up a mentoring program. I met him in Florida. He's an energetic guy for 50 much less for 84. As promised, he called me for advice on how to get his plan off the ground.

My friends, Bud is 84 and bursting with ideas and good intentions. On top of that, he has the stick-to-it-ness to follow through and make this a reality.

He's establishing relationships with kids who most people are prepared to consign to prison -- black 9th grade boys who have gotten in a little trouble along the way.

He asked me what I thought was the most important skills his group could bring to those young men and I said
1) help them improve their reading skills. For many, it will be back to phonics.
2) remind them early and often the salary differential between a h.s. drop out and a h.s. graduate.
3) take them to visit plumbers and electricians on the job. Let them see men who make a living by their own labor.
4) buy a book every month -- have everyone --kids and adults -- read it and discuss. Model what it is to be a literate man in society.
5) Promise them, and then find them, opportunities to work at a part time job. Nothing improves the self-esteem of a teen more than earning pocket money.

Bud Tamarkin, you are Peg Tyre's Hero of The Month. Good luck to you!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome Praise from My Friends in Palm Beach!

I had a great time last Friday speaking to about 300 people --young and old--who working improving literacy among children and adults in Florida. The event was organized by the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County.

I talked about my book and then we had a lively Q and A.

The director sent this lovely note:
We were truly delighted to have you with us. Thanks for the energy, expertise and time you put into your presentation and time with us.
I thought of your talk as I taught Sunday School yesterday with 3-5 grade boys and girls. It is a true challenge to keep the girls who are so verbal and enjoy writing and discussing engaged while having activities that allow the boys to act out the lesson, run off their energy and keep engaged. Your thoughts were very helpful and thought-provoking.

People who care about reading are my kinda people.

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