Inspire Santa Fe enables high school students to utilize their knowledge, skills and talents to find their passion. The mentorship program is entirely based around students’ interests. Participants aren’t necessarily looking to tailor their resume for college or jobs, but they are looking toward their potential futures. Inspire pairs them with a mentor who will work with them for 6–8 months. The goal is to create a project that will then be shared at the annual Inspire Santa Fe Festival in April.
Inspire has been around since 2014. It was modeled after programs such as the Celebrate Youth! mentorship, which continues to assist many students. My own school, The Masters Program, integrated its mentorship program into Inspire. Two of the first visionary teachers who believed in the importance of mentorships for students and advocated this program were Paquita Hernández and Aaron Stern.
Inspire builds on the age-old tradition of mentoring but modifies it to add more depth to what students usually learn in school. In order to achieve this, Inspire partnered with the educational non-profit SEED and the Academy For The Love Of Learning.
Inspire’s mentorships have achieved extraordinary results as young adults discover if the field of employment they are thinking of pursuing is really for them. Zach Taylor, director of The Masters Program, says that some students attend college and then realize that they don’t actually want to pursue their particular area of study as a job. He told me about a high school student who was about to drop out, signed up for a mentorship in architecture and helped design a building. The experience reinvigorated him and he decided to stay in school, but he then went to college and changed his major from architecture to dentistry. He is now a dentist.
My experience within the Inspire program has taught me a lot about the journalistic process and the level of detail and effort needed to put a magazine together.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or being mentored, you can visit Inspire’s website at inspiresantafe.org.
Cassidy Spillman is a high school senior attending The Masters Program at Santa Fe Community College. His interests are primarily environmental—and political as well, as he is always looking for solutions to problems that Americans face.