Heroes & Cool Kids Student Leadership Program is a unique mentoring program employing high school student leaders (Heroes) to mentor elementary/middle school students (Cool Kids) in their district. The Heroes are chosen by a school representative (teacher, counselor, or other staff member) and should be selected for their standout academic achievement, extracurricular participation, and most importantly, their character. These Heroes are sent into the elementary/middle schools to share their lives and facilitate our program which is geared to helping all students make better, healthier choices that will lead to a positive future. Our belief is that the elementary/middle school students are extremely influenced by the high school students, a class of individuals they look up to, emulate and, in some cases, idolize.
High school student leaders participate in three conferences. They are facilitated by Heroes & Cool Kids staff, per diem trainers, and keynote speakers and prepare student leaders for their role as mentors. Each conference session is four hours in length and addresses each of the topics covered with the elementary school students during visits to their classrooms. Trainers and student leaders work together in an interactive workshop format planning strategies to apply when the high school leaders share their values and choices with the younger students.
Training of the student leaders continues at their individual high schools to insure that they are fully prepared to make their school visits. Finally, Heroes & Cool Kids staff accompanies the student leaders during their middle school visits.
Mentoring involves 5th and 6th graders including those who are “at risk” as well as high achievers.
Our select curriculum is presented in three parts – the rapport building stage, the evolving stage and the empowering stage – each of which incorporates the full 45-minute class period. Students are involved in experiential exercises that reinforce the knowledge and skills needed to weigh their choices, to understand the short and long term consequences of possible choices, and to judge the merits of choices against their personal value system. As more students choose to make good choices, good choices become “Cool” choices.
The students are empowered to become true “stakeholders” of their personal lives. This is achieved through the successful use of positive reinforcement, role modeling, and accurate information about available life options, which clearly identify the personal, social, and economic effects of poor choices versus good choices.
The professional athletes assist the high school students in creating additional personal life stories building upon previous character and life skills themes. The intent is first, to enhance and build upon the feelings of mutual trust and respect which are necessary ingredients for open dialogue. Second, the intent is to teach strategies for: