Central Medford High School

Alliance of Generations offers two programs to Central Medford High School students on a weekly basis – the Youth Elder Circle and Weekly Rites of Passage Circles.

The Weekly Rites of Passage Circle is a credited high school elective. It's a time in the week when a group of young men meet to discuss the important issues that are arising in their lives. These confidential circles create a safe space where powerful opportunities for peer to peer support, as well as, mentor to mentee support occurs. Several experienced men guide the conversations and provide support, perspective, and feedback. Mentors work with students in facilitating the topics they want to discuss. Circle conversations often focus on day to day issues, personal development, accountability, and opportunities. An environment is created for students to use their lives, challenges, and triumphs as guides to find their own answers, and if they request, be held accountable for achieving their goals or commitments. Sharing from the heart about what's real and challenging in the youth's life while feeling seen, heard, accepted and understood by others builds resilience and teaches emotional literacy not often taught in American schools.

The Youth Elder Circle brings together three experienced mentors and one young man for a confidential two-hour session. During this time, the men get to know the young man in a supportive and accepting manner. As the direction of the conversation unfolds, the men focus on parts of the young man’s life that appear to be important and challenging.  With the student’s permission, they help him approach these issues in a positive light. If the young man is willing, the men will assist the student to reframe the most important issue into a goal and then help him develop an action plan to meet that goal. At the end of the session, the men offer appreciations and positive feedback to the young man. This is a powerful moment for many young men, when they hear encouraging things about themselves; words they may never have heard, especially from older men. Hearing these positive messages from several men can increase the impact on the student.