Bronx-based Arthur Project program redefines youth mentoring

The Arthur Project, based in The Bronx, has found a way to redefine youth mentoring in this new era.

Cofounded by Liz Murray, whose life story was made into a book and Emmy-nominated television film, “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story,” The Arthur Project uses chronic absenteeism as a basis for program eligibility, provides therapeutic mentoring services to middle school students and their families to work toward more positive outcomes in school and at home.

Pascale Sykes Foundation is a supporter of The Arthur Project and helped make their transition to online programs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Most students, many Black and Latinx, remain enrolled in the program this summer and are working with clinically-trained mentors on activities like one to one mentoring, moderated discussions on current news and town hall-style events, where students analyze and present on issues that are important to them, such as racial justice, police violence, unemployment, education and housing.

“We are very much driven from the bottom up,” said Jessica Greenawalt, executive director of the program. “We take very seriously what kids, parents and our school partners think. These relationships are like two-way relationships. Everybody benefits from it in some way.”

Greenawalt spoke with the Bronx Times about the program and its impact on kids. The Arthur Project, which has partnered Richard Green middle school and the North Bronx School for Empowerment, uses graduate social work student to mentor teens and they meet one to two times a week and on Saturdays to do community outreach.

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