Mentoring & Empowerment at NAYA

Instructor Name: 
Anmarie Trimble
Course Description: 

This class is an opportunity to explore hands-on the complexity surrounding education, equity, and empowerment, with a specific focus on collaborative peer mentoring, which often includes academic tutoring. Our community partner is the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). At NAYA, students will have the opportunity to interact with bright youth from diverse cultures and work with them on improving their academics and future prospects. Capstones will collaborate with their Capstone peers, NAYA students and staff in NAYA's after-school Learning Center, the Early College Academy high school, or the College and Career Center. In the summer, we work with NAYA's Camp Rise as well as their credit-recovery high school program Summer Ascend. 

No previous mentoring or tutoring experience is necessary, as Capstones will bring their diverse talents to the collaborative learning environment. This Capstone explores the process of learning —to role model ways of turning frustrations and failures into new growth and knowledge. We examine philosophies and practice of tutoring and mentoring, and training includes working with youth in a trauma-informed environment. This requires we examine and reflect on the intersections between learning process, historical legacy, and social inequity as they impact Portland's urban indigenous community, American society, and even globally.

This course examines the role of cultural difference, connection and reconciliation, and empathy in the learning relationship through in-class dialogue, engagement with diverse texts, weekly written reflection, and the practice of tutoring and mentoring youth. To be effective tutors and mentors, students will be expected to gain background in the history and experiences of the community we’re working with, but also be open to examining how their own background shapes their educational and other social experiences. We will therefore need to examine our own assumptions, biases, and learning around issues of poverty, privilege, race, class and other relevant social and historical factors. 

Project Description: 

This class meets four hours per week at PSU for training with the instructor, and after the first week of training individuals will volunteer at NAYA for three hours per week. PSU weekly sessions include discussions on readings exploring Native American culture, educational issues, and service learning. Students also coordinate a project in service to NAYA. Projects in the past have included a book drive and gathering learning resources for the Learning Center. Individual writing assignments include personal reflective projects, resource reviews/analysis, and a final reflective narrative. Because we are working with underage students, background checks are required of all students in this Capstone.