This mentorship-based course pairs Williams students with teenagers involved in the Berkshire County juvenile justice system. LIFT is an official Commonwealth of Massachusetts probation diversion program. This is a student-led course, sponsored by Pittsfield Chief of Police Mike Wynn ’93 and Professor Cheryl Shanks, but entirely run by Williams students who have served as mentors or directors in the past. Our goal is to empower the teenagers through positive peer mentorship and allow them to take ownership of an independent project of the teen’s choosing. The project and other course activities aim to cultivate initiative, creativity, focus, and skills in areas such as goal-setting, research, and communication, which the teenagers can then carry forward to their school, work, and home lives. The course culminates with a project presentation in which each mentor/mentee pair formally presents their work to an audience that includes professionals in the juvenile court system, state elected officials, chiefs of police, district attorneys, the teens’ peers and families, and faculty and community members. Williams students are expected to attend trainings, meet with their teens three times a week, co-facilitate a final presentation, and keep a weekly journal detailing their meetings. Because LIFT is an after-school program, this course meets Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm. Students interested in serving as mentors should write a paragraph of interest explaining why they believe they would be a successful mentor in this program. Those paragraphs should then be emailed to student directors Regina Fink (raf3), Julia Lim (jsl3), and Emily Marquis (ejm1), cc’ing Cheryl Shanks ([email protected]).
The Class: Format: lecture
Grading: pass/fail only
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation and journal and weekly statements
Enrollment Preferences: students will be evaluated based on a statement of application, and the directors reserve the right to accept fewer than 10 applicants
Unit Notes: Mike Wynn is the Chief of the Pittsfield Police Department and graduated from Williams in 1993.
Materials/Lab Fee: none
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
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- PSCI 22 - 01 (W) LEC Intervention for Teens (LIFT)