I’d like to take a little bit of time this month to share with you a program we launched in April in partnership with the Cornerstone Leadership Academy. Although it lacks a very official title, on the ground we refer to it as the CLA Student-Mentor Program.
We have engaged four gap-year interns; Godfrey, Lawson, Hellen and Edith who are split into two co-ed teams. These interns are exceptional Cornerstone Leadership Academy Rwanda graduates who were selected based on strong recommendations from the CLA headmaster. The teams have been assigned to and are working in two partner schools; Solidarity and ETAK.

The interns are working in these schools daily and are spending time with all grade levels. Their primary role is to deliver the CLA Christian leadership curriculum. The content of this curriculum focuses on universal principles such as integrity, compassion, honesty, kindness, hard work, humility, and serving others as exemplified in the teachings of Jesus. While the program at CLA is usually delivered over 3 years we have tried to pull out the components we feel are the most relevant for the students in these two schools. In addition to teaching, the interns are also supporting the schools with various tasks. These include; administrative tasks, teaching entrepreneurship classes, helping in the library, exam supervision, leading clubs and tutoring.

We have enjoyed watching this program come to life and are excited about the impact. While it is difficult to capture some the internal changes occurring in the students, the interns update us weekly with stories about the way their presence has made a difference. One such example was a young female student who told one of the mentors since a recent conversation on forgiveness, she had rekindled a lost relationship with her mother. While the content of the curriculum is important, a large portion of the interns time is also spent building relationships with the students. Having positive, friendly and accessible role models really seems to be making a difference and life-lessons are being delivered outside the classroom as much as in.

I look forward to sharing more about this program as it continues to unfold…