The History of the Amigo Mentoring Program
The mission of the AMIGO mentoring program:
“Provide a peer mentorship opportunity to First Year (FY)/ Transfer underrepresented students. Through this year-long peer relationship Amigo-mentors will provide guidance on how to better transition to college and insight positive study skills. Amigos will be matched based on gender, interests and if possible, majors.”
The AMIGO program has flourished since it began in the 2011-2012 academic year. After extensive research and trials of various mentoring programs the AMIGO program was created. The first steps to this program stemmed from the enrichment program S.T.R.I.D.E.
History of S.T.R.I.D.E.
Implemented by the Dean of Students Office in 1992, the Pre-College Enrichment Program was a summer pre-orientation experience for incoming students of color. The program came from former students in reflecting on their initial experiences at Davidson and felt that a pre-orientation program was needed to bridge their transition from high school to college. This program was not a substitute for the existing New Student Orientation Program, but was designed to supplement New Student Orientation by introducing students to the experiences of students of color at Davidson College.
In 2001, this Pre-College Enrichment Program became S.T.R.I.D.E.: Students Together Reaching Individual Development and Education Program.
Today S.T.R.I.D.E has further developed. While keeping its initial intentions and goals the incoming students now meet with individually matched mentors. The first years meet with their mentors at “pre college enrichment” so they will have time to discuss transitioning and changes before the pressures of class start. During the school year there are monthly events which can be academic, community service, cultural and/or social that all pairs attend, as well as a mid-year retreat and end of the year celebration.
From the inspiration of the STRIDE program at Davidson College and the successful bonds that stemmed from it, Messiah formed its own mentoring program called the Net:
“The mission of the First Year Student Network is to assist first-year and transfer students from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and cultural groups from the United States and International locations in their transition to Messiah College. “The Net" offers the resources that are needed as students adjust to the spiritual, educational, and social environment of Messiah College.”
The Net mentoring program closely followed the goals of Davidson’s mentoring program while applying Christian ideals. All participants were volunteers and first years were encouraged to meet with their assigned mentors a couple times a month and optional monthly events were available to all members.
After 3 years of this program Messiah sought to create a stronger mentoring program that would be linked with scholarship funds. The net was then transformed into a more structured program called AMIGO. Students were no longer loosely associated with their mentors but were required to meet with them twice a month – their meetings monitored through surveys the mentors fill out monthly – and they are required to attend the monthly group event.
The AMIGO program currently has over 50 members and is generously funded through the development office by alumni and friends of the program.