The STRONG program will provide the following activities and supports:
Two, two-hour orientation sessions focused on familiarizing participants with the goals and activities of the STRONG initiative and on preparing participants to balance the demands of school and personal life. These sessions will be conducted annually prior to the start of the fall term.
Review of academic records and participant requests to help identify participants in need of academic intervention, mentoring, and academic advisement. The program will operate in coordination with the offices that typically provide such services.
Monthly academic year workshops covering topics related to academic success (study skills, library skills, information literacy, and time management) and emotional health (self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-awareness).
Meetings will be spread across each academic year. In those meetings, participants will discuss challenges they face, identify or generate potential solutions to such challenges, and celebrate triumphs and achievements.
Several social outings and activities will be spread across each calendar year for the duration of the initiative, focusing on leadership development, community service projects, team building activities, social bonding activities, and attendance at events and cultural programs.
STRONG participants will be recruited from Morgan Park High School (MPHS) and in subsequent years from other area high schools. Participating AAM students from MPHS will be engaged in programs focused on developing participants' college readiness, academic and leadership skills.
The experiences are intended to afford participants exposure to professional environments. Excursions to blue chip firms will be arranged, and participants will be encouraged to develop relationships with those firms. Such experiences will facilitate the development of professional networking and provide opportunities for participants to identify and secure internships, which could lead to long-term employment.
Training sessions for peer mentors will be conducted to equip them with the skills to mentor underclassmen and MPHS students participating in the STRONG initiative.
Fifteen SXU junior or senior participants in the STRONG initiative will be selected to serve as peer mentors for participating freshmen, sophomores and MPHS students. Peer mentors will provide tutorial and socio-emotional support for mentees.