Renaissance Academy Students Learn Life-Lessons from Mentors at QVC

Renaissance Academy Students Learn Life-Lessons from Mentors at QVC
Posted on 03/19/2013
Josh Box and his Mentor Creating TogetherWest Chester, PA – Since October of 2012, Renaissance Academy Charter School students have been paired up with mentors from QVC, Inc. located in West Chester, PA. Each week, the students travel by bus to visit their mentors at QVC, where the pairs work together on various activities which are designed to enhance the students’ understanding of working collaboratively within a corporation. Students are able to tour the large, impressive QVC facility, the model’s closet and the renowned QVC studio. In addition, they have the opportunity to visit some of the other employees who work in occupations which interest them.

Activities conducted during the students’ visits involve team building, engineering, time management, and creating a budget. The most recent visit involved an “un-birthday celebration where students and mentors shared treats and exchanged gift to celebrate everyone’s birthday. The festivities included a T-chart activity which had the group compare trends from now with what was current when the mentors were the same age as the students. The items listed in the categories, which included hottest technology, fashion, music and pop culture, ignited lively discussions among the group. These types of activities help to create a comfortable rapport between mentor and student, which opens up more in depth discussions on grades, college and careers.

The mentorship program between Renaissance and QVC was arranged through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. Joy Dickson, who has worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for nine years and specifically with QVC programs for the last five years, oversees this partnership. She begins the process by conducting extensive interviews with both the students and mentors, then matching them based on personality, common interests, and future aspirations. Ms. Dickson said that she truly enjoys watching the relationships grow between the adults and students. She went on to say that, “the students get a real sense of the possibilities for their futures by visualizing themselves in a corporate environment.”

The students and their mentors await their time together each week with energetic anticipation. Brian Laborde, OVC Guest Services Manager and mentor said that he “really appreciates the opportunity to give back to the community by helping and supporting the youth of today.” About his student, Mr. Labode said, “Josh is a respectful young man, who seems to enjoy learning new things.” Josh Box, a freshman at Renaissance, said that he values the time he spends with his mentor, Mr. Laborde. About the mentorship program, Josh said, “through this program, I have gotten the chance to meet new people, learn about how to get where I’d like to go in life, and gain valuable feedback on how to problem solve.”

Shari Cissel, the Renaissance Academy counselor who coordinates the partnership between Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the school, said, “These are the types of programs which allow students to make real world connections and encourage them to keep an open mind about career possibilities. One-to-one mentoring opportunities promote student achievement and empower students to explore their strengths both in and out of the classroom. ”