Home > Ask > Cross Program Collaboration: Rachel Carson High School Students Pay it Forward

The YWCA-NYC Youth Leadership program at Rachel Carson High School (RCHS), which is led by the YW youth council, recently began mentoring students in the YW’s after school program at P.S. 90. This initiative was started by RCHS students in an effort to build relationships with younger students and helps to positively influence them, as well as building the mentors’ own leadership experience. Once a week, students in the leadership program meet after school to create lesson plans that include educational, team building activities and time for homework help. Mentors and mentees meet during afterschool time at P.S. 90 once per month. After only two meetings students are already beginning to form relationships, and seeing the benefits of peer mentorship.

See what students have to say about the experience:

Megan Spano, Junior

“I wanted to work with P.S. 90 because I wanted to work more with the community that my school was in and also a school that was part of the YWCA. Being a part of the YWCA Youth Council at RCHS, I helped to plan the agenda and activities we would be doing with the students. When I first went to PS 90 I was so excited to work with the students, because I love working with kids. The students were also very excited to see me and my fellow classmates. Once I started to help the students with their homework, I built a relationship with a second grader named Gabriel.  As a creative arts activity, we made gingerbread men out of paper. Gabriel made me one and told me to keep it forever. I left with a great feeling and I can’t wait to do it again. I am thankful for this program to help me to continue to build my leadership skills while making a difference in someone else’s life.”

Christopher Knights, Senior

“When the opportunity arose to volunteer at an elementary school I was very excited. I wanted to expand and strengthen my leadership skills and I felt that this was a great way to do it. I wanted to volunteer at PS 90 because I wanted to be a positive role model for younger students. I wanted to be there for them. There was one student who I felt that I connected strongly with – Paul. Working with Paul gives me the satisfaction of being a leader and he motivates me to keep going back and wanting to do more. Before I walked into the classroom, I was told that Paul was asking for me. It felt great to know that he remembered me, even though he only met me once before.  I feel that Paul is comfortable around me and has also has fun while I teach him valuable things – both academic and personal. Hopefully I can make a connection like this to other students as well.”

Brianna Salinas, Junior

“Being a part of the YWCA Youth Council I thought it was important to build up our leadership skills and also to give back to the community. I wanted to work at PS 90 because I love working with kids.  At first, I was nervous. We did a lot of planning and I was unsure that things would go the way we planned. I also did not know how the students would react to high school students helping them with homework. However, once we arrived, the kids were really excited. I loved seeing their smiles and enthusiasm. They loved the games and activities we planned for them. Every time we leave, I can’t wait until the day we go back.”