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Mentorship in Motion at Propel McKeesport:

Propel McKeesport scholars are engaging with their community in ways that promote self-awareness, confidence, and fun! Through opportunities generously offered by local community groups, our scholars are spreading their wings, trying new things, and growing in agency.


Everyday Mentoring: "Read With A Barber"

All Barbershop Photos Credit: Jason Cohn

When you feel good about how you look, you feel ready to take on the world! Scholars at Propel McKeesport are beautiful on the inside and outside -- and were excited for the opportunity to visit with local barber professionals to get a fresh new look all while strengthening their literacy skills and learning about mentorship. “Read With A Barber” brought together scholars, teachers, school leaders, and the greater McKeesport community in a relaxed & engaging environment.

At the same time, The Mentoring Partnership (TMP) was already making efforts to donate books to local barbershops and promote literacy. Michelle Thomas, Director of Training and Program Development at TMP and Propel parent, recognized the connection and reached out to partner with Principal Scott to turn "Read With A Barber" into a monthly event during the school year. 

On one side of the room, scholars were getting their haircut as they read to their barbers. On the other side, scholars who were waiting participated in a group discussion on "What is mentorship?". Each scholar walked away with a free haircut and book that their barber left a personal message in. We also provided crates of books to the barbers so that they could sustain and encourage the practice of promoting literacy and mentorship in their individual barbershops.

Thank you to The Mentoring Partnership & McKeesport Barbers: Howard (BigBoi Howie), William Cooper, Rue Lemon, Corry Sanders, & Kaleb Sanders


Everyday Mentoring: "Guys Gone Fishin" at Lake Emilie

Thank you to Mayor Michael Cherepko, District Attorney Zappala, Concerned Fathers, DA Paralegal Mia Gallippi, and the McKeesport Police Department for making the fishing outing a memorable event!

"I loved fishing as a kid and I was thinking that in some of the stories our scholars are reading, they can't relate to it because they haven't been exposed to those experiences yet. What are some things that we can implement that can help provide that background knowledge and exposure so that they can have greater knowledge in life and not just in standardized testing? So, fishing? They've been in the house all year long, Let's get outside!" - Principal Scott

With the vision set, Principal Scott started reaching out to her team and members of the community to bring this idea to fruition and to make it an especially beneficial experience for scholars. With the support of Mayor  Cherepko, Lake Emilie at Renziehausen Park was quickly secured for the event and stocked twice by Concerned Fathers to ensure a successful day of fishing. To make the most of this fishing event, a partnership with the local McKeesport fishing and mentorship organization, Concerned Fathers, was established and for three days prior to the event, they trained scholars on the mechanics of fishing. Scholars learned how to assemble their very own brand new fishing rods, tie knots, attach hooks, cast, and much more! 

In continuing efforts to foster a more positive relationship between school communities and law enforcement, it was very important to Principal Scott that the McKeesport Police Department was invited as well. "I want law enforcement to be able to see our scholars in the same light they would see any other children. They won't be so quick to react negatively because it can start to click that they were just fishing together and they can start to make those connections and maybe lessen the fear I feel that sometimes may exist with students of color and law enforcement," Principal Scott explained.


Everyday Mentoring: Propel McKeesport Principal Scott's Vision for the Future

Our school community’s next step is to create and maintain a garden space in the city of McKeesport. Our scholars are excited to learn about the science behind successful gardening PLUS take pride in growing fresh fruits and vegetables for the community. Our garden project will be cross-curricular, dovetailing with lessons on healthy eating and general wellness. To encourage exercise and movement, we're working with the White Oak Rotary Club to raise funds to build a playground for our scholars! 

"Our end goal is that scholars feel that they and their school are a part of their community and that they feel good about coming to school. We hope to establish closer connections with community members that can share what they do, how they impact the community and build those relationships. We don't have to reinvent the wheel each and every time and we can start to rely on each other within our own community to further and better our communities." - Principal Kristin Scott


PPG Volunteers Get Involved At Summer MAGIC:

This past week Propel Schools welcomed the first of several volunteers from PPG that will be reading to our scholars at Summer MAGIC Camp this year. Scholars had endless questions for Dr. Andrew Surface, who shared elements of what it takes to become a chemical engineer. At the close of the session, each scholar was presented with a copy of "Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood," the book read to them by Dr. Surface. This wonderful addition to scholars' home libraries will always remind them of Propel Schools' connection to PPG and a great day of mentoring, literacy, and learning.



Power of Propel Gala - August 31

Join us for an evening of cocktails & hors d'oeuvres as we recognize these passionate & dedicated Propel Scholars that have been awarded a Propel Schools Foundation Scholarship to pursue post-secondary education or vocational opportunities. This Gala benefits 10 Power of Propel Scholarships & our Career Pathways Program.

Gala Registration Deadline: August 2, 2021

Trick or Trot - October 31

Come on down to North Shore Riverfront Park and participate in our first ever Trick or Trot! You can be an event sponsor, host a booth, or choose to participate in either our 5K race, 1M race, or our Fun Run (ages 5+). However you choose to support Propel Partners in Wellness, don't forget to wear your Halloween costume! 

Trick or Trot Registration Opens: August 2, 2021


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