Moving Forward Together: A Sweet Mentorship
From Elizabethtown College, you can nearly smell the sweet scent of chocolate from Hershey—about 10 and a half miles down the road. The quick road trip is often made from the College to Milton Hershey School (MHS)—a cost-free, private, co-residential school for children in grades pre-K through 12 from low-income families. For nearly 15 years, Blue Jays have been paired up with MHS high schoolers through a mentoring program known as Moving Forward Together (MFT).
The goal of MFT is to foster opportunities for meaningful relationships between Elizabethtown College and Milton Hershey School students and promote academic achievement, emotional development, and together make contributions to the broader communities. Though, the relationships between students formed are so much more than that.
Recently, MFT celebrated the partnership at its annual senior appreciation dinner hosted by the College. Elizabethtown College senior and Sociology and Anthropology major, Quadriyyah “Quad” Abdul-Aziz, has a special relationship with her MHS mentee, Bridget McClatchy.
“I’ve known her since elementary school so getting to see her grow up and mature, and now she is heading to college, is just amazing,” Quad said.
Quad, a 2015 alumna of Milton Hershey School, has mentored Bridget for the last eight years and can relate to her highs and lows through high school as she has walked in her same shoes.
“I love Milton Hershey School, but high school can be hard at times,” Bridget said. “Quad is able to give me advice on how to handle different situations because she’s also experienced it, and that’s really helpful.”
Heading to Neumann University in the fall to study pre-athletic training, Bridget knows she may not be able to go bowling or grab ice cream with Quad when she has a tough day, but she also knows she will have Quad to lean on if she is in need of a listening ear.
“I won’t see her as much and I will miss her,” Bridget said. “But I can always reach out and I know she will be there for me.”
Chocolatier and founder of MHS, Milton Hershey, once said, “One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy and only useful as he contributes his influences for the finer callings in life.”
As Quad reflects back on her time as a Spartan at MHS and now upon college graduation as an E-town Blue Jay, she’s grateful to have made an influence on Bridget’s life, just like those who have helped guide and advise her too.
“I’m so proud of who Quad’s become, and how she’s ready to face the real world head-on,” said pre-K teacher Amy Stoops ’15.
Stoops, a Blue Jay alumna, also made the annual senior appreciation dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of her mentee, Quad. As a College student, Stoops was looking to gain more experience mentoring students so she signed up to be a Moving Forward Together mentor to an MHS student. She was paired with Quad and the two made an instant connection.
“Quad then came to E-town for college so in a way I feel like she’s followed me in my footsteps,” Stoops said. “She’s going to do great things, and that’s why it was important for me to be here and support her.”
And, that’s the special ingredient of MFT that just evolves between mentors and mentees over time–a lifelong link—that no amount of miles can come between … no matter how far the distance.
Discover more about MFT at etown.edu.