A new service organization was born last Saturday at the Los Alamos Teen Center.
The program has one simple goal: utilize the power and knowledge of high school students to bridge the information gap between New Mexico communities. It is called Bridge the Gap: Next Step, connecting trained LAHS mentors with their NM peers, high school seniors, to give counsel and exchange information on post-high school steps, including college, scholarships, or jobs.
Started by high school senior Rebecca Cai and led soon by fearless near-seniors (Louisa Belian, Kallie Funk, Dylan Mauldin, Andy Shen and Jennifer Wang), Bridge the Gap has grown from an unprecedented idea to a reality since January.
The program is unique in that it is powered by students, with the aid of some influential players. Bridge the Gap is backed by Rotary International, aided by the Los Alamos Rotary chapter, and conducted through Interact, Rotary’s high school arm for community service. With the support of LAHS Principal Bradford Parker and many kind volunteers, Cai and her team have been able to produce, from scratch, a safe and inexpensive way for students to connect through Google Apps, exchange information, and work from a set of common resources with advice and clear-cut steps.
Of course, Bridge the Gap could not exist without the student mentors, who volunteer their time toward building a more unified New Mexico community.
On Saturday, May 21st, 15 such students met at the Los Alamos Teen Center to be trained for a yearlong commitment to Bridge the Gap in the 2016-2017 academic year. They received contracts and conduct agreements, and a description of their duties.
The future mentors learned from some Class of 2016 grads about the diversity of college applications, and were trained in conducting mock interviews by UNM-LA’s Laura Loy, a true Rotarian. After committing 4 hours of their valuable time, these mentors are ready to get connected!
Anyone with questions about the next step after high school, and interested in a one-on-one connection with a fellow senior should keep an eye out for sign-ups at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. In its first year, Bridge the Gap will offer peer connections with Santa Fe High School and Los Alamos High School students who desire long-run partnership and access to a wealth of information.
Special thanks to Sylvan Argo, Sal Zapien, LeAnne Parsons, Rob Metcalf, Allison Pannell, and Phil Dabney. We truly could not do it without you.