Kansas City Public School Leaders to launch new mentoring initiative

First of its kind, reaching 7,500 students

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Derrick Parker Jr. is a Morehouse Man. 

He’s a KCPS graduate and a junior in college.  It may not sound like a big deal to some, but Parker would beg to differ. 

“Some of my friends didn’t make it to where I am today.  Some of them are in jail, some of them passed away,” said Parker.  

Part of the reason Parker is on the right path is because he had the right mentor. 

“To see someone who looks like you and to see someone who is doing the same thing you want to do in the future is powerful,” said Parker. 

The Kansas City School District hopes to empower young people in a way that’s never been done before. 

Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Special Projects Derald Davis admits it’s a lofty goal, but says it’s attainable. 

“There’s no school district in the nation aspiring to have 50 percent of its students in a mentorship program,” said Davis.

That’s 7,500 students from all walks of life: at risk, middle class, black, white, boys and girls, kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Many of our students experience opportunity gaps,” Davis tells 41 Action News.  Students may be unaware of those opportunities without mentorship or guidance.”

District leaders plan on launching the initiative in late 2017.

Right now they’re asking for churches, corporations, mentoring groups and everyday citizens to sign up and participate. Merrell Bennekin and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity are one of the organizations answering the call.  “

"We reached out to the Kansas City Public Schools and it was just a natural marriage," Bennekin explains.  “It makes the community better as a whole. Everybody benefits.”

If you want to be part of this initiative, the time to get involved is now. You can email mentoring@kcpublicschools.org

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Kevin Holmes can be reached at Kevin.Holmes@KSHB.com

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