The 52nd Street Project’s Smart Partners one-on-one mentoring program brings together kids and adult mentors in collaborative relationships that foster open and equal exchange, lifelong learning, and sustained connection. It is built upon the Project’s expertise in developing programs which engage and challenge the kids, and expands their sense of responsibility for their work.
Each child who participates is matched with an adult mentor who engages with the kid in working toward any goal the child may have, academic or creative. Each adult/child pair meets once a week at the Project Clubhouse. The given day is determined by the partners to accommodate both their schedules. The duration of the meetings is at least ninety minutes. A mentor may provide tutoring as needed, centered around guiding the child toward information and solutions. It is by no means necessary that Smart Adults have all the answers. It is equally (and sometimes even more) useful for a kid to hear “I don’t know either, but here’s how we’ll find out…”
The Smart Partners program has evolved over the years since its inception in 1996. During weekly mentor meetings at the Project’s Clubhouse, volunteers develop lasting, supportive friendships with their kids. Smart Adults encourage their kids’ basic skills in language arts and math through activities like creative writing, reading, drawing, photography, music lessons (voice, piano, and guitar), filmmaking, cooking and more. With the guidance of their mentor, each Smart Kid is also encouraged to write a piece for Fivey, the official literary magazine of The 52nd Street Project. Smart Partners are invited to attend various group activities throughout the program year: a kick-off pizza party in September, a Halloween party, an open mic night, a ping pong tournament, and finally, a summer picnic in Clinton Park. Outside the Clubhouse, established pairs take advantage of New York City’s many cultural events: museum exhibitions, dance classes, theater performances, poetry readings, movies, and sporting events
Interested in becoming a Smart Partner? Contact us by clicking here.