Thursday, October 1, 2015
Westerville City School District (WCSD) employees Cynthia DeVese, Tami Santa and Jill Ponzi were awarded a grant to facilitate the M.O.D.E.L. program at Heritage Middle School this school year. In collaboration with Role Model Magazine, nine female adult volunteers from the community and WCSD staff, the project aims to increase girls’ sense of self-worth; improve perspective toward education; provide positive support and encouragement; and help them become self-sufficient young adult leaders and ultimately increase their school performance.
Sixty 8th grade female students meet monthly during seminar and lunch to address topics relating to health, wellness, self-esteem, relationships and career exploration. These topics are highlighted by dynamic community speakers or role models from Role Model Magazine.
September’s speaker was David Mahan from Common Sense Culture. He led a passionate presentation and discussion entitled The Anatomy of a Choice. Mahan covered how environmental influences (family, media, peers, school, community) impact our perceptions, attitudes, choices and behaviors every day. He, along with the adult mentors, led students through specific activities in hopes of teaching strategies for making positive choices by assessing and adjusting environmental influences.
“The M.O.D.E.L. program is off to an exciting start. The students are enthusiastic, motivated and eager to learn more about themselves while continuing their growth as young leaders. We are grateful to have so many adult mentors volunteer their time and energy for this program,” said Ponzi.
M.O.D.E.L. is one of three programs within the Westerville Education Foundation grant funded “Student Connections” umbrella. Student Connections will connect students to diverse literature, mentors and tutors, as well as create opportunities to engage and address issues surrounding students’ social and emotional needs. Pupils also will focus on creating pathways that connect them to careers and college opportunities, as well as increase their academic achievement.