Video Celebrating 5 Years of Mentoring Girls!

5th anniversary video cover pic

Thank you to everyone who has supported Polished Pebbles on its 5 year journey! With many challenges & successes along the way, we are proud to have mentored over 750 girls…  and we aren’t done yet!
Polished Pebbles is looking forward to many more years of mentoring and helping girls S.H.I.N.E. We hope to grow even more over the next 5 years with your continued support!

Please share in our memories collected throughout the years by watching this short video:

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“Jumping” Into The Next Five Years of Mentoring!

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The challenge is on! If you’re in the Chicagoland area, who’s going to take me on in Double Dutch?? You, and girls you know 10-14 yrs+, are invited to our Saturday Polished Pebbles session w girls, held this Saturday, September 13. To celebrate our 5th Anniversary in mentoring girls, we’ll be hosting a Double Dutch clinic led by Black Girls Jump at Donoghue Charter School, 37th and Cottage Grove at 10 am. All welcome! Big girls and little girls! Come prepared to jump, turn, and have a good time! #oldschool #pastdoubledutchqueen

Jumping to Celebrate Five Years of Mentoring Girls!

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If you’re in the Chicagoland area, get ready to jump & celebrate 5 years of Polished Pebbles! As many of you may know Polished Pebbles, is the girls mentoring program that I founded five years ago, and continue to direct and operate and we are starting to celebrate our 5th anniversary, and will do so at our first Saturday session. 

Polished Pebbles’ 1st Second Saturday’s Session of the year will be all about showing off your jump roping & double dutch skills!

Learn new moves from your friends & the talented ladies of Black Girls Jump at our kick-off event of the year!

When: Saturday, September 13th, 10 a.m.
Where: Chicago Urban League
(For girls ages 10-17)

It’s A Dorm Room, Not The Taj Mahal!

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My column, Stomping the Yard, on jetmag.com aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives. We show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job.  This week’s column helps all incoming freshmen by giving them a reality check on what to expect when moving on campus …  CLICK HERE TO READ IT!

Please share with any new college students in your network!

 

A Role Model on a Mission

diane latikerKIDS OFF THE BLOCK SAVE A TEEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern

My mentoring responsibilities aren’t limited just to working with the school age -girls and female college students in Polished Pebbles.  I also find a tremendous about of satisfaction mentoring college/graduate interns as well.  I’m proud to share this blog post that was written by one of our summer interns Tamara Meyerhoff.  Tamara is a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is majoring in Social Work with a concentration in Family Studies. This summer she attended the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture in Hyde Park. Through her classes she was able to experience the culture of Chicago, from the South Side to the North Side. Tamara also completed two part-time internships–one with me at Polished Pebbles, and the other with United African Organization.

Last week I brought to your attention the effect of the school to prison pipeline on  black youth. The twitter conversation that followed brought up an important fact–mentoring alone is not the solution. As commenters have mentioned, there are systemic and institutional oppressions that are working against black youth, especially in the education system. It is intimidating to imagine tackling these large systems. We just have to remember that we make up the system, the government, the society. Changes starts with us. I strongly believe that everyday individuals are more than capable of inciting change. It takes energy, heart, and faith; but, it is possible. So, although small things, such as mentoring, may seem insignificant in the grand scheme, it is doing something. It is raising us out of our apathy.

Diane Latiker is a prime example of how a concerned resident, with an open heart, began to show the youth in her community the best of themselves. Kids Off the Block is located in one of Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods, Roseland. Diane works with the young men and women of Roseland to build a positive, safe, and creative environment for personal development. Kids Off the Block provides positive alternatives to youth to help them avoid the juvenile justice system. Similar to Polished Pebbles, she helps black youth see themselves in a new light. One that counters the harmful stereotypes. This self-esteem boosting mentoring style is not limited to organizations. It is something that all adults are capable of. Perhaps then, these children will move into another pipeline, the pipeline to careers. All children should grow up believing they have strength, endurance, confidence, and capability.

Can Mentoring Break The Prison Pipeline?

School To Prison Pipeline

By Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern

My mentoring responsibilities aren’t limited just to working with the school age -girls and female college students in Polished Pebbles.  I also find a tremendous about of satisfaction mentoring college/graduate interns as well.  I’m proud to share this blog post that was written by one of our summer interns Tamara Meyerhoff.  Tamara is a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is majoring in Social Work with a concentration in Family Studies. This summer she attended the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture in Hyde Park. Through her classes she was able to experience the culture of Chicago, from the South Side to the North Side. Tamara also completed two part-time internships–one with me at Polished Pebbles, and the other with United African Organization.

As national news continually reports the alarming increase in gun violence in Chicago, I’d like to share with you this infographic from Tavis Smiley Reports on PBS. The school to prison pipeline is the education and juvenile justice system working in tandem to incarcerate mostly lower class minorities. According to the article, schools will unfairly target minority students to be criminally charged for minor acts. As the graphic shows, in 2013, 70% of in-school arrests were of black or Latino youth. Even more shocking, black and Latino students are 3.5 times for likely to be suspended than white students.

The author believes that this harsh reality affects the self-perception of black youth. By constantly being surrounded by a negative stereotype, they start to believe they are nothing more than that stereotype—violent, aggressive, hot-tempered, and criminal. Polished Pebbles is one organization working to fight against the cycle of the school to prison pipeline. It does this in a subtle way. The Polished Pebbles curriculum changes the way African-American girls perceive themselves as young black women. One high school student reported, “Before Polished Pebbles, I had a horrible attitude. Now, I learned that I have to control my attitude because those same people can help me with my future”. Listen to Polished Pebbles success Pertesha share her story through the foster care system. Furthermore, these girls have dreams of becoming doctors, dentists, and even accountants.

These girls have grown because they were surrounded by role models who told them they are capable and deserving individuals. As the article has shown, this is where the school system has been failing black youth. It is here that organizations, communities, and individuals can begin to break the school to prison pipeline.

Share with us in the comments below what can you do in your community to help one youth from entering the school to prison pipeline?

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Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentee Introduced FLOTUS Now Heading to College!

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“Well there you go, and that’s what the south side of Chicago produces!” -First Lady, Michelle Obama

Could you imagine having the opportunity to formally introduce the First Lady of the United States as a freshman in high school?

Well, Polished Pebble mentee Deneen Borner did, & she’s heading to college at Mississippi Valley State University this Fall and we need your help to make sure she can get there!

In 2011, Polished Pebble mentee, Deneen Borner, had the privilege of introducing First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Mentoring Summitt in Washington, DC. The First Lady’s reaction to that introduction spoke accolades to the work we do with girls. She simply stated, “well there you go, and that’s what the south side of Chicago produces.” This comment spoke to the impact of our mentoring model and the possibility to extend our reach to more communities. You can check out Deneen’s speech below!

We couldn’t have been more proud of Deneen, after giving such a stellar speech. And, she continued to impress us as she beat the odds for the next four years, attending high school at Harlan Community Academy in Chicago, maintaining a 3.7 GPA, joining the National Honors Society and the Young Business Development Institute, and maintaining a part time job. Although she’s had a lot of personal obstacles to overcome, she’s excited about starting college.

Please donate to ensure that we can support Deneen with transportation, fees to get Deneen get to her college orientation, and final move in date. With such an excellent start, we can only imagine how far Deneen will go! Please help reach the stars!  DONATE HERE!

Thanks in advance

Mentoring College Students On The Power of Relationships!

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The girl group TLC sang about it 20 years ago, and it’s still a challenge on college campuses everywhere, that’s right making and breaking friendships.
In my latest blog series for JET,  The Freshman Memoirs , I feature current college students and the lessons they learned throughout their college careers.  This serves as an excellent way to mentor incoming freshman so that they can be aware of the steps of a successful college career.  This week, I highlight the experience of Nyia Fairley, a sophomore at Hampton University who shares her experience of maintaining a lifelong friendship in her first year of college.  Check out Nyia’s story in JET here.
Interested in learning more about how I can connect and work with students on your campus?  Send an email to kellyfairthementor@gmail.com, and check out this brochure for Polished Pebbles, The College Edition here.