Taeyoung Yang’s family moved to Forsyth County from South Korea at the end of his seventh-grade year. He remembers how difficult it was trying to adjust to an entirely new country and culture.
He was the first in his family to ever attend a middle school in the U.S., and he struggled to navigate the landscape of an unfamiliar school system while still trying to prepare for high school.
Now a junior at Lambert High School, Yang recently partnered with classmates Shivaek Venkateswaran and Palak Joshi to create a mentorship program and club to ensure middle school and minority students have older peers to lean on for support and advice before heading into high school.
“When I was in middle school, I really wished I had someone who could tell me about the high school life that I was about to face in the next couple of years,” Yang said.
Through the program, called Service Through Mentorship, he hopes students never have to feel as lost and confused as he once did.
The Forsyth County News spoke with Yang about what Service Through Mentorship is all about, the help they provide to middle school students and how he and his classmates hope to continue to grow the club at Lambert.
Tell me a little bit about Service Through Mentorship.
“At Service Through Mentorship, we individually interview the students of Lambert High School and middle school students who are expected to come to Lambert to discover their passion and interest.
“Then, we pair up like-minded high school students and middle school students so that they can form mentor-mentee relationships. The mentors and mentees have regular virtual meeting times so that the mentee can ask questions to mentors about high school, such as goal setting, high school courses selections, time management, extracurriculars and more.
“Last year, we paired up 18 mentors and mentees, and we are expecting to grow [even bigger] this year. Since we are now an official nonprofit organization, we are also planning to expand the chapter into other high schools.
“Service Through Mentorship allows youths to create a bond with high school students in an effort to educate and train them on [ways to study] and to give them a peer they can ask questions to regarding high school without hesitation.
“With academics being one of the most important parts of life for modern students, many struggle to absorb information in an effective manner. Thus, we teach students how to learn, rather than what to learn.”
How many students at Lambert High School volunteer through this program?
“For the current school year, we are still in the pairing process for every volunteer, but we are expecting to have about 25 mentor-mentee pairs. Including virtual [Question and Answer] sessions, about 30 Lambert High School students are volunteering through this program.”
What are some examples of the kind of mentorship you all offer to students?
“As part of the mentorship program, a paired-up mentor and mentee schedule a regular call at their convenience, and middle school students can ask anything about high school [they may be interested in.]
“We also host virtual Q&A sessions where a group of middle school students who are not necessarily part of our mentorship program can ask questions to the current high school students.
“By doing so, we hope to help students progress through middle and high school.”
What are your hopes for the future of Service Through Mentorship?
“We hope to expand our organization to other parts of the county or state to bring this great experience to more people.”
For more information, visit lambertmentorship.weebly.com, or find them on Instagram at Lambert STM.