Now in its 24th year, the Generation Next (GenNext) Mentorship Program, a highly successful Armenian General Benevolent Union (UGBU) program, is progressing with the changing times to serve the youth of the local Armenian community of Greater Los Angeles and the Glendale Unified Quartier. It recently announced an improved hybrid model of its original program and actively invites potential mentees and volunteer mentors to apply for this free and ever-growing program without delay.
For at least a year, students dedicate eight hours per month to the program and benefit from weekly one-on-one mentoring meetings and the new benefit of monthly group activities.
The new and improved offering adds a strong component of group activities to complement the meaningful mentor-mentee relationships between teens and caring volunteers. These one-on-one relationships allow young people in their most formative years to receive the individualized support of a positive role model who functions as an outside source of support and a friend, all with the consent of the parent (s) and supervision of the parent (s). UGAB Western District Committee and an independent external organization specializing in mentoring. Through experience, students find that they gain confidence and improve academically and socially. Mentors enjoy the satisfaction of sharing their experiences, practical know-how and sensitivity to adolescent struggles while learning about the issues and interests of a new generation.
The group activity overlay will provide general and technical skill development sessions to help students learn about teamwork, negotiation, leadership, resume writing, public speaking, among other important tools for success. In addition, thematic seminars focused on career, mental health, civic engagement, financial literacy, violence prevention and substance abuse are also discussed. Participants will also be introduced to industries and professions they wish to explore in the process of finding their own life path, presented by members of the local community with proven track records in a given field.
Education Programs Manager Nare Avagyan joined us just as the Covid-19 pandemic was hitting the state of California hard, forcing the decision to stop in-person learning in favor of virtual classrooms. She noted how the shift to remote interaction helped inform the next iteration of the GenNext concept.
“Not only has the pandemic impacted the lives of all the teenage students who are already going through these critical years, but also those who are enrolled in mentorship programs like GenNext. The switch to virtual was therefore initially questionable. Fortunately, we solved the problems and found that the value of mentoring, where interpersonal communication is key, was not really diminished from a distance. This
actually revealed some built-in benefits, especially when it came to saving parents from driving their kids to the GenNext center or meeting their mentor. It also saved time for the volunteer mentors who are obviously very busy with their own careers and families. This gives the mentor, mentee and parent the flexibility to benefit from the GenNext offering without compromising other priorities.
The program’s new president, Tzoler Oukayan, summed it up best: “As California reopens its schools and more and more young people over the age of 12 receive their vaccines, we look forward to donating to our community. GenNext the best of both worlds: the magic of in-person engagement. , the convenience of virtual connections and the flexibility to choose the method of interaction that works best for you. “
To get started and find answers to all of your questions, please visit the updated PMUG GenNext website where mentees and mentors will be informed on how to register and apply. Glendale Unified School District staff are also encouraged to recommend middle and high school students to participate in GenNext for free by filling out the form on the website.
Go to agbugennext.org or contact Nare Avagyan, Education Programs Manager, at [email protected] or at (626) 794-7942.