Breaking Down Walls and Building Relationships – Peckham Inc.

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Before joining RAMP, Erica presented herself as a shy and withdrawn young lady.  She often gave in to peer-pressure and hung out with a negatively influential crowd.  She was not involved in extra-curricular activities at school and would spend a lot of time at home.  She did not entirely enjoy being home due to a strained relationship with her father, though she found comfort in her relationship with her mother. A Special Education Teacher at Waverly High School referred Erica to the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program. RAMP was thought to be the best fit for her because it would provide her a positive peer environment and immerse her in new opportunities outside of her coursework.  Additionally, her teacher knew RAMP would provide Erica a mentor to help her build autonomy, problem-solving skills, and self-confidence.

Upon entry into RAMP, Erica seemed resistant to engage in the program.  She distanced herself from the mentors as well as the RAMP Coordinator.  Often times, when addressed, Erica would provide short answers and would keep headphones in her ears. As weeks went on, Erica slowly became more involved in program activities. She would ask inquisitive questions, participate in activities, and partake in conversations with the mentors and the RAMP coordinators that she was once too shy to address.  Eventually, she became a leader within the classroom.  She engaged her peers and attempted to redirect distracting behaviors that she noticed in the class. Through RAMP Lansing’s partnership with the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITECT), Erica learned how to program and construct a robot. Erica put these skills to great use, excelling in her Right Turn High-Tech Project by building a Lego robot all by herself. Additionally, Erica showed exceptional growth in her job readiness skills.  She increased her knowledge of applications and resumes by attending RAMP’s Employment Workshops, and even completed a mock interview with Deputy VanCore of the Lansing Police Department. Activities through RAMP began to give Erica self-confidence which she used to help other students in the program!

As Erica’s comfort grew in the program and with her mentor, she became more involved in RAMP activities outside of the classroom.  She regularly attends Girls Group—where she has positive interactions with female peers and staff to increase her self-esteem and social skills.  During this group, Erica has really opened up and allowed her peers and staff to become a healthy support system for her.  In addition to Girls Group, Erica has attended several events including Hoops for Heroes, Team-Building Picnic, Michigan Adventures, Back-2-School Bash and job tours at Neighborhood Cinema Group (NCG) Movies, District 5 and Potter Park Zoo. 

Throughout her time with RAMP, Erica began to open up to her mentor, Kathleen.  She would text Kathleen during the week, and went out to dinner with Kathleen and her mom.  When Kathleen left the program, Erica began to worry that things wouldn’t be the same. However, when Erica was re-matched with a mentor named Sherri, and truly began to blossom.  Erica became incredibly close with Sherri. Since pairing up they have completed several activities together, such as going to the movies, out to dinner, horseback riding, art projects, and they even completed an Escape Room together! Erica keeps in regular contact with Sherri and consistently seeks out advice from her.

Due to Erica’s success and her remarkable growth, she has been serving as a peer mentor to younger students at Waverly High School.  She continues to attend RAMP weekly to guide students through activities and pass along the knowledge she has gained while in the program. Overall, while in the program, Erica has made astonishing strides!  She has truly begun to embrace who she is and has served as a wonderful role-model to her peers! 

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