Mentoring: Meeting the social and emotional needs of scholars

I grew up in what people in Memphis call “South Memphis”. I was born to a teenage mother and father. If we consider what statistics say about the children born to teenage parents, I was destined to repeat the cycle.  Even though my mother was young, she realized she could not do it alone. So, I had a strong support system with my grandmother, my aunt and my god-mother, Ms. Morris.


Ms. Morris was my father’s ninth grade English teacher. She treated him like he was her own son. When she found out about me, she swooped right in to help support my family in any way possible. As I grew older, she introduced me to opportunities I may not have seen without her in my life. She was my mentor.


When I joined Aurora, my head of school shared the same vision on the importance of meeting the social and emotional needs of our scholars. As a result of this, the Boys Club was born. Mr. Coleman is our Boys Club mentor. He has taken our idea of mentorship and made it a reality.


First of all, Mr. Coleman provides our boys with lessons on manhood and integrity. When our boys meet with Mr. Coleman, they are required to bring their weekly conduct logs. These logs show the points our boys lost and earned around our Pride values. Scholars work with Mr. Coleman to determine goals to work on prior to their next session. Secondly, he has taught them that they are their brother’s keeper. During their sessions, scholars answer to Mr. Coleman and each other regarding the kinds and amounts of points they lose based on the Pride values. As a result of these sessions, I have seen 7 out of the 10 Boys Club members attend the monthly VIP party. Previously, these scholars had not participated in the event.
Each year we are working to increase the number of mentor groups. I am successful today because of what my mentor did for me and I hope our mentoring program plants the same seeds for my scholars.


  12 comments for “Mentoring: Meeting the social and emotional needs of scholars

  1. Janis Simpson
    February 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    What an awesome program for young males. I still believe in the saying, that it takes a village to raise children. Hats off to you Mrs. White, Mr. Coleman, and all that staff at Aurora for investing in our future leaders. Mentoring programs are an excellent way to help build up our children.

  2. Regina Hartsuck
    February 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Amen. I can relate to your upbringing, as I was a teen mother with a support system (my great grandmother). When you are instilled with the right values there is NO weapon that can form against you and prosper! Your persistence, encouragement, and dedication inspires me to keep pressing on. I see the love you have for the children and they need this so much! Thank you for the part you play in their lives!

    • Teneicesia
      February 9, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you so much! I do love them so!

  3. Christian
    February 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    This is what educating the WHOLE child looks like. Educating is more than what is in a book . Two thumbs up for me!

  4. Ashley
    February 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    This is such a great way to bring positive role models into a school community. The investment Mr. Coleman is making in their lives will lead to a better Memphis. Thanks, Mrs. White and Mr. Coleman for continuing the mentor program!

  5. Bridget Myles
    February 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I thank God for my mom and Mrs. Morris for sowing seeds in Mrs. Whites’ life, those seeds made her the person she is today. I see how she loves her scholars and how much she gives back to them and the community! Momma is so proud of you don’t stop giving back. Love you !

  6. Kendra
    February 9, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    What a great experience for your young scholars!

  7. Staci Turner
    February 9, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    This is great and a model that all schools should adopt. Educate the whole child!!!

  8. Arby
    February 9, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    AWESOME!! I’m always excited to see educators doing the work to help support student in and out of the classroom. Keep up the great work, Aurora!

  9. Natasha Clark
    February 10, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    What an excellent article and an amazing mentoring program for so many young men!! Mrs. White & Mr. Coleman thank you both for investing & impacting the lives of children in our city! Your dedication & hard work is greatly appreciated! Continue to do great things and know that your work is not in vain! Praying for continuous success & growth for both of you!

  10. Ramon
    February 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Data and teaching touches the “soul” deficit in education. Mrs. White is talking about the “spirit” deficit in education which is urgently needed in all schools. I have not had many mentors as a black man raised in a single mom household. As a youth with “nowhere to call home” in Chicago it was hard to find someone who would actually take the time. It felt as if I was begging for someone to believe in me. If I had a “Mr. Coleman”, my journey could have been much easier to navigate early on. Great read Mrs. White. If the S/E needs of a child are not being met, there is no need to teach. I always wonder how many of the children I taught in the Chicago/Atlanta area who passed the state “soul” test but failed the social “spirit” test and end up in a jail facility. Keep stirring the thoughts of greatness.

  11. P. R.
    April 27, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    So happy to hear about this great program! Thank you for all you & Mr. Coleman do!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *