The vision of TALKS is to share wisdom between generations. The purpose of TALKS is to lead young men and women to make a personal commitment to integrity, excellence, and to grow their leadership skills. The goal of TALKS is to structure opportunities for constructive dialogue between mature, adult role models and youth, by creating networks between schools, communities, and organizations that will provide instruction in moral, ethical, and responsible living. The TALKS approach is to coordinate short weekly, content-based meetings between one adult and three youth at the school, during school hours, while providing all the necessary materials for successful mentoring.
Unique features of this approach include:
- A minimal time commitment: Each session lasts for 30 minutes. For mentoring in the schools, mentors can budget about one hour per week for the lesson, preparation, and travel time.
- A content-based curriculum: The TALKS curricula discuss many topics such as academics, self-esteem, peers, family, relationships, and life skills. For each topic there is a lesson, discussion questions, and famous quotes.
- A one-to-three approach: Mentoring three students at a time reduces many of the common pitfalls associated with mentoring such as; student manipulation, the mother/father replacement syndrome, unhealthy dependence on the mentor, and the risk of false accusations against the mentor. This group creates a positive peer environment for the students. Because the large number of children who need mentoring and the small number of adults available to mentor, the one-on-three approach meets the needs of more children.
Design of the curriculum:
- Structured, practical, and pragmatic
- Addresses topics that are often hard to discuss
- Allows the public school to partner with the community in a proactive manner
- Creates the opportunity for older men and women to share wisdom regarding positive, ethical, and responsible living.
- Each student must sign a contract committing to his/her participation in the program.
- Each mentor must sign a contract stating what he/she will provide for the students.
Year-end incentive banquet:
- Positive acknowledgement of wisdom gained through mentoring sessions
- Individual recognition of students and mentors
- Guest speakers from the community share their story of success to a leadership role in their agency, business, and/or government
- Parents/guardians are invited to attend
The program is currently active at Attica Elementary School, Attica Junior/Senior High School, Covington Elementary School, Covington Middle School, Covington High School, Southeast Fountain Elementary School, and Fountain Central Junior/Senior High School.
For more information about the program, contact Elaina Smith at (765) 793-4881 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.