The transition to high school can be difficult and often intimidating for incoming freshmen. Thanks to a Community Grant from the Lawton Community Foundation, a peer mentoring program is helping to ease that transition for students at Eisenhower High School.
In 2013, the school launched the Ignition Peer Mentoring Program that pairs upperclassmen with incoming freshmen to serve as mentors during their first year of high school. The students participate in team-building activities, develop four-year high school plans and organize service learning projects. After the program’s first year, Eisenhower High School noted an uptick in the number of ninth-grade students who were promoted to 10th grade.
Through the Ignition Peer Mentoring program, Eisenhower High School freshmen and their mentors have participated in the national Lead2Feed Challenge that helps students develop leadership skills by coordinating a community project to help solve the issue of hunger. The students organized a community-wide food drive that collected more than $5,000 of food and $2,720 in monetary donations for the Lawton Food Bank. In addition, the students’ project won $12,000 from the Lead2Feed Challenge that was distributed to the Lawton Food Bank and two other area nonprofits that help provide food to Lawton area citizens in need.