Mentorship program at Oliver Elementary keeping students out of trouble

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 2:43 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Every other Wednesday at Oliver Elementary School is a special day for nearly 25 students.

The Better Choices for Success program was started last year. Students meet either one-on-one or in small groups with mentors to talk about weekly topics, such as peer pressure, making good friends and bullying. The students selected to be in the program have previously been in trouble for behavior.

Principal Tamara Burley came up with the idea and approached school board member James Sullivan to help get it off the ground.

Through connections Sullivan has and his social media platforms, he was able to bring in mentors from outside the district to volunteer their time to meet with students.

“We have to take ownership of our own community and I think once we get the right people to do it, I think anything is possible in Birmingham City Schools,” said Sullivan.

Burney said elementary school is the perfect time to introduce students to this kind of mentorship to help keep them on the path to success. She said the students look forward to meeting with their mentor and the program has been a blessing.

“Having just a father figure to talk to, or a big brother, or a big sister, or mother figure to talk to really helps put a child exactly where they’re supposed to be and make the right choices,” said Burney.

The program is looking to have more mentors join. If interested, you can reach Oliver Elementary by calling 205-231-8620.

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