Sisters Circle begins with a weekly after-school program for incoming sixth grade girls from three BCPSS partner middle schools: Henderson Hopkins, City Springs and Commodore John Rodgers. Sessions prepare first-year students for one-to-one mentorship, build a rapport with students and families, and allow our team to learn about each student before making the match. Our 10-week social-emotional curriculum focuses on self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.
In the spring of sixth grade, each student is paired with a one-to-one mentor. Through these new connections and experiences, mentors and mentees alike can learn from one another, share information, increase access and awareness, and provide opportunities to practice life-skills. It also allows our team to offer interventions and support systems within the context of a trusted relationship.
As we strive to engage and support each mentor-mentee pair, Sisters Circle offers a diverse mix of monthly educational, cultural and recreational match events and activities. Such experiences play a critical role in strengthening mentor-mentee bonds, offering mentor support, and building a sense of community and connection. Some examples include pottery painting at Amazing Glaze, a cooking session at Schola Cooking School, a visit to Good to Go horse farm, bike rentals at Baltimore Bicycle Works, tickets to The Baltimore Zoo, and GirlTalk sessions on healthy relationships and grief and loss.
Our middle school students are invited to attend summer camp to stretch beyond their comfort zone, gain exposure to different people and perspectives, establish a respect for our environment, and exercise problem-solving and team-building skills. Sisters Circle works to generate scholarships as well as provide assistance with camp supplies and transportation when needed. Our high school students progress to academic bridge programs, test preparation courses, and/or summer job experiences and internships through community partners and programs.
At the high school level, we strive to create a greater awareness of post-secondary opportunities. Our team supports both college-bound students as well as those who choose a vocational and/or training path through personalized goal-setting, admission consulting partnerships, assistance with scholarship applications and financial aid forms, and communication with each mentor, family, and school. By establishing interests and goals for each student, our young women map out a plan which allows them to define success for themselves.
Reflective of the Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships Framework, our year-round program model centers on expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities — all of which prepare our young women to navigate through life’s transitions and decisions.