Service-Learning | News: WEIS Century Program

If only commitment was contagious, there would be “no children left behind”

By Nani Lee, J.D., Ph.D., M.S.W.

WEIS

You’ll find the Chaminade van in the parking lot of Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate School everyday of the week because 37 students in Ethics 332 committed to mentoring students, who have committed to be part of The Century Program. The Century Program is one of the programs supported by the Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES). FES partners with more than 320 colleges (of which Chaminade University is one) throughout the country. FES schools have helped more than 140,000 students in 25 states strengthen academic performance and pursue post-secondary education over the last 14 years. FES works with a team of educators, parents, and community members at each school to create a plan built on proven practices that help students chart a course toward higher education. In this program, students and educators meet the challenges they face by building college partnerships and networking with other FES schools.

On any given day, you will find CUH student mentors on the Waimanalo campus engaged in helping their scholars chart their course toward completing high school, entering the job market, vocational/technical school or higher education. For some, it means helping them decipher fractions in very creative ways, for others it’s a game of racket ball, cooling down and then trying to figure out what homework to tackle next. WEIS students eagerly wait for their mentors and argue back and forth on “who has the coolest mentor?”. One scholar packs his ukulele to school so that he can share his talent with his mentor. Another gives his mentor a wake up call, calling her at 6:30 in the morning to make sure that she is committed to driving out to Waimanalo for a volleyball clinic.

These 37 committed CUH students were joined by 14 committed women of the Silversword Women’s Volleyball team. Yes, the Women’s Volleyball team unanimously voted to join their fellow students in Waimanalo and committed to a 6 week volleyball clinic with the TCP Scholars and the intramural volleyball team. They travel to Waimanalo (started on 10/5/05) once a week for six weeks to offer a structured skills and personal development clinic. Some of the topics that will be covered are: what it means to be a student athlete, nutrition and team work.

On October 7, 2005, a busload of WEIS students, parents and teachers traveled to CUH to attend the Silversword Vulcan game. The Team generously shared their hard earned fund raising monies and provided the bus transportation, pizza and drinks so that the WEIS students could attend their game.

Parents and teacher chaperones, who accompanied the WEIS students commented on the generosity and dedication of the CUH students. Observers noted the young “cheering section”, rooting for their CUH team. Following the games, the WEIS students gathered under the tent in the Henry Hall courtyard. They agreed to cheer for “their team” as they entered the tent. The youthful energy and exuberance emanating from the tent was contagious. Scholars, mentors, athletes, parents, coaches and teachers… we could feel the commitment. The WEIS students didn't care that the Silverswords had loss, they were committed to their team. That's called "applied loyalty". Why?...for a group of students that feel that they are often “out of the mainstream”, they are witnessing and feeling the commitment of a small dedicated group of faculty, staff and students…51 CUH students strong. While faculty and staff provide the infrastructure for the opportunity to commit, these “Generation Xers” are defying the label and showing that they too can give to others.

Perhaps we should be taking our lessons from the WEIS students. After all, mentoring and commitment is a two way gain.

Commitment Honored in Spite of Defeat by Dr. Jim Miller

Mentors Serve Up Inspiration by Lee Cataluna, Honolulu Advertiser