“Peer Pressure” to “Peer Mentorship”: Oliver Scholars Partnership Summer ‘21

We are all familiar with the term peer pressure and have all felt it at some point in our lives. But what if the negative meaning associated with this concept could be flipped on its head? Though we don’t like to remember our days as the stubborn young people that hardly listened to advice from our elders, the truth is, we’ve all been there. As kids, we all struggled to identify with adults and with the “wisdom” they were trying to impart upon us, from building good habits to learning the importance of responsibility. With that being said, I think we can all remember someone in our lives that was either the same age or slightly older that was able to leave a lasting impact on our personalities for better or worse. Often, when working with peers, humans feel far more comfortable, more open, and subsequently more willing to accept advice – especially at a younger age.

           The strong influence of peers on decisions of others at (or around) their same age is critical to understanding the oppressive cycle of poverty – that’s why we’re taking steps to flip the meaning of “peer pressure.” Developing peer mentorship programs around strong role models that have come out of similar living situations to underserved youth can be a powerful tool for empowering and reshaping their future. Humans overwhelmingly learn through modeling the actions of others around them. As a result, positive role models and peer mentorship are essential to personal development and building opportunities for success.

Statistical Backing for Peer Mentorship:

How can we work to break this oppressive cycle of poverty?

We can develop positive role models for underserved youth. According to a study conducted in 2009, “Providing youth with skills for selecting positive adult role models may be an effective strategy for positive youth development and help youth avoid the adverse effects of negative nonparental adult influences they may experience.”

According to this study, “Yancey et al. (2002) (also) found that adolescents with an identifiable role model received higher grades, had higher self-esteem, and reported stronger ethnic identity than their counterparts who lacked role models. Further, these effects were stronger if adolescents personally knew their role models.”

ABC Food Tours to Launch Oliver Scholars Mentorship in Summer 2021

ABC Food Tours is excited to announce its upcoming partnership with Oliver Scholars in July 2021. By providing access to partner schools, ABC Food Tours will build the opportunity for highly achieving Oliver Scholars to connect with younger students in their communities and fulfill the mission of the program: “Oliver Scholars prepares high-achieving Black and Latino students from underserved New York City communities for success at top independent schools and prestigious colleges. We provide crucial support for our Scholars so they can realize their full potential and ultimately give back to the city, the nation, and the world.”

By connecting ABC Food Tours public school partners with these young adult role models, we will supply positive peer mentors for underserved youth in the New York City area. We are excited to pilot this program this July and see what is possible as we grow in the years to come!


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