The Community SMARTS Program is a unique mentoring program designed by the Research Institute for Learning and Development to build a supportive community of students with learning and attention differences. The program addresses the needs of struggling learners, many of whom are at risk for low self-concept, school drop out and unemployment.
SMARTS, an acronym for Success, Motivation, Awareness, Resilience, Talents, and Strategies, is a peer mentoring, peer tutoring and leadership program that pairs younger children with learning and attention differences with high schoolers, college students and young professionals who have faced similar challenges. Each month, ResearchILD hosts an event that allows mentors and mentees an opportunity to meet and share their experiences and talents. Together, they help each other develop persistence, effort, motivation, positive self-concept and effective strategy use.
The Community SMARTS program empowers students to be leaders. Evaluation findings from the SMARTS Program show a remarkable increase in students’ self-concepts, effort and motivation. Parents of participants say that their children are more eager to become leaders involved in school activities and are more motivated to do well in school.
With additional funding ResearchILD plans to expand the Community SMARTS program so that more struggling learners on the brink of giving up can be given the chance to develop the strategies, drive and resilience to succeed.