Founded in 2010 and incorporated May 7, 2015, Skooled, Inc. originally started from a panel discussion organized by MLKSA Alumni Monica Hall.
This mentoring program is the immediate result of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Association panel discussion which aimed to answer the “What can we do to help?” question that plagues concerned minds when addressing the disparities in education based on socioeconomic standing in residential areas of Newark, N.J.
When asked about the organization’s mission statement, freshman biology major and Skooled treasurer Aleessa Akegnan said, “We help students discover their aspirations, goals, and passions. As an organization, we build mentee-mentor relationships by tutoring, doing bonding activities, and putting on programs and workshops that will develop transferable skills. We aim to bridge the gap between high school students and local college students through mentoring, tutoring, development and advocacy.”
Skooled is a weekly afterschool mentoring program held at Central High School’s Media Center on Fridays from 3:30-5:30 p.m., by local college students. The mentoring program offers several curriculums such as a college student membership organization, a weekly after-school program, a paid summer program and an annual book scholarship award.
Passion takes center stage in an educational program like Skooled. “This club looks for people with a passion for helping others,” Akegnan said. “Skooled is different from other clubs because it is more than community service; it is a family. Skooled is a program where the mentees look up to the mentors like big brothers and big sisters. This type of impact paves the road for a brighter future. Not only will the students be impacted but the mentors will be impacted as well because of the interaction.”
According to junior social and behavior science major and Skooled president, Marcellis Counts, the current mentors are there because they truly care to change the system.
“Members join because they want to improve the lives of the students who attend our program,” Counts said. “They believe they have something to offer younger students, whether it be tutoring, advice on college or just being a listening ear. Our members truly believe in the power of having a mentor. They want to be someone our students can trust and look up to.”
Extensive commitment and work ethics are required from mentors as well as their mentees when becoming involved. Sophomore social and behavior science major and Skooled secretary Rachael Kelly said, “I want people to know that this is a weekly commitment. We are interested in improving the lives of our students and the students who attend. It’s important that we are present and are there for the students. Being a mentor is so rewarding because it allows you to see the progress of another student and know you helped them, but it requires dedication.”
All those interested in volunteering for Skooled can sign up to be mentors by contacting a current mentor for an application or stop by the Skooled table at the next SHU involvement fair. The process is very simple, but the impact is tremendous.
Perle Desir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.