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Title: SMILE : An Inside Look at an Innovative Peer Mentoring Program at a Multi-campus College


1
SMILE An Inside Look at an Innovative Peer
Mentoring Program at a Multi-campus College
  • 27th Annual Conference on The First-Year
    Experience San Francisco
  • February 2008

Margie Bader, Program Coordinator Sheryl Minnett,
SMILE Faculty
2
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3
Path to Success
  • Being mentored is
  • one of the most important predictors of a
    successful career.
  • Globe Mail, November 11, 2005

4
Mentoring
  • Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen
    and a push in the right direction
  • John C. Crosby

5
The Origins of Mentoring
  • The word mentor is derived from Homers
    Odyssey. Odysseus goes off to war and turns the
    guidance of his young son, Telemachus, over to
    his friend Mentor. The boy is then mentored in
    the ways of the world.

6
Mentoring in Canada
  • Canada is the world leader in providing mentoring
    programs in career settings
  • Over 65 of peer and other mentoring programs in
    the world are Canadian programs
  • 66 of the top 2,000 Canadian corporations
    provide some type of mentoring program, compared
    to 17 in the USA (Rey Carr, Peer Resources)

7
Mentoring in the USA
  • In 1995 the word mentor appeared in the
    Washington Post only once in the entire year
    compared to once a month by 1999
  • In 2002 the Harvard Mentoring Project launched a
    new effort to institutionalize and advertise the
    nations commitment to mentoring and established
    the month of January as National Mentoring Month
  • Storylines dealing with mentoring have appeared
    on many TV shows e.g. King of Queens, Becker, Law
    and Order Special Victims Unit and ER
  • Over the past six years, the Harvard Mentoring
    Project has spearheaded a national media campaign
    to promote the growth of mentoring in
    collaboration with national and regional TV and
    nonprofit partners

8
Why post secondary mentoring?
  • A public institution with 2,000 freshmen enrolled
    annually and a dropout rate of 30 can save 1
    million for a 10 decrease in the dropout rate
    (Levitz, Noel and Richter, 1999)
  • Dropouts are expensive. It is far more cost
    effective to retain a student that has been
    admitted than to recruit a new one.
  • (Dr. Lee Noel, Student Retention Task Force,
    Nipisseng University, March 2006)

9
Coaching Vs. Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • is usually a paid activity
  • focuses on performance
  • specific agenda
  • involves a person (usually external) who teaches
    and directs a person using encouragement and
    advice
  • short term, issue specific guidance
  • helps to achieve specific, challenging goals
  • helps person stay focused on area of improvement.
  • can be used to develop members of a work team
  • Mentoring
  • is voluntary and ongoing
  • focuses on the individual
  • facilitator with no agenda
  • can involve a senior person in the same
    organization who knows the structure, policies
    and processes of the organization
  • shares knowledge and experiences to empower
    protégé
  • is a learned guide who gives support and helps to
    open doors for the protégé
  • A mentor is a role model who provides a broad
    perspective

Mentoring and coaching use a similar skills set
10
SMILE Mission Statement
  • SMILE Mentoring is committed to enhancing the
    personal, academic, social and professional
    growth of our students by establishing and
    maintaining positive mentor-protégé
    relationships.
  • We value diversity, volunteerism,
    confidentiality, integrity and respect.
  • Through their involvement in the Mentoring
    Program, we empower our students and facilitate
    their success at Seneca College and beyond.

11
Why was SMILE Initiated?
  • Developed as an intervention strategy to address
    retention issues faced by the College
  • Developed in response to student reports of
    isolation, loneliness and lack of connection to
    the College community
  • Designed to provide opportunities for senior
    students to have a positive impact on students in
    transition to College life

12
Program Goals
  • Engage students and provide them with a sense of
    community
  • Help students fully adjust to College life
  • Transfer knowledge of available resources
  • Positively impact student retention

13
Beginning of SMILE Program
  • The SMILE Mentoring Program started as a pilot
    project in 2002. This pilot was initiated in one
    academic program at one satellite campus with 10
    mentors and 20 protégés.
  • By December 2007, the Program had expanded to
    three campuses Seneca _at_York, Newnham and King)
    with 476 active mentors and 520 protégés.
  • The SMILE Mentoring Program falls under the
    umbrella of the Counselling, Disability, Health
    and Learning Centres Department

14
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
15
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
16
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
17
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
18
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
19
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
20
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
21
Who Are Our Mentors and Protégés?
22
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities
  • Facebook
  • Mentoring Month
  • Campus Events
  • Mentor Club
  • Leadership Award
  • Database
  • Liberal Arts Credit (online course)
  • Research
  • Recruitment
  • Applications Screening
  • Training
  • Matching
  • Program Maintenance Evaluation
  • Marketing
  • Lead Mentor Program
  • Recognition Ceremony

23
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Recruitment
  • Class visits at start of each semester
  • Email Campaign to potential mentors and protégés
  • Telephone recruitment
  • On-Campus Advertising
  • Brochures, Posters, Electronic Signs, Flyers
  • Referrals
  • Word of mouth from student to student, referral
    by Faculty, Program Coordinators, Chairs, Career
    Services, Student Services, Counselling
    Department
  • Events
  • College Orientation / Open House
  • On-Campus Events, Frosh Week
  • College Website Ads (through BlackBoard)

24
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Applications
Screening
  • Mentor Requirements
  • Senior students (minimum 2nd semester)
  • Mandatory minimum GPA 3.0
  • Completed mentor application
  • Successful interview with SMILE staff
  • Protégé Requirements
  • Completed protégé application

25
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Applications
Screening
  • Mentor Candidates
  • Embrace the spirit of volunteerism
  • Commit one hour per week to assist a protégé for
    a minimum of one semester
  • Ability to listen and respond appropriately
  • Availability for 14 hour mentor training
  • Satisfactory English communication skills

26
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Mentor
Training
  • Experiential workshops spread over 14 hours led
    by SMILE faculty
  • Includes segments in
  • Teambuilding
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Communication listening, responding and
    roadblocks
  • Learning styles
  • Boundaries and personal space
  • Cultural diversity
  • Knowledge of College resources

27
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Matching
  • Primary Criteria
  • academic program
  • Secondary Criteria
  • Protégé preference related to language,
    interests, cultural background and/or gender
  • If no preference, we try to match with students
    from other cultures to enhance cultural
    understanding and competence

28
Program Maintenance Evaluation
  • Tracking
  • Database updates
  • Biweekly mentor logs submitted by mentors
  • Telephonic follow-up where necessary
  • Evaluation
  • Analyze feedback forms from
  • Mentor Training
  • Events
  • Monkey survey on program effectiveness (2006)
  • Oversee mentor and protégé relationships
  • emails to students
  • In person connection at workshops and events
  • drop-in communication

29
Program Maintenance Evaluation SMILE Database
  • Developed by Seneca ITT department for SMILE in
    2007
  • Students input their own data
  • Automatic matching based on protégés criteria
    (manual override)
  • Email alerts sent out to mentors and protégés
  • GPA and other student data readily accessible
  • Statistics easily generated

30
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Marketing
  • SMILE website launched May 2006
  • www.senecac.on.ca/smile
  • SMILE Promotional items
  • Giveaways include coffee mugs, pens etc
  • Quarterly Newsletter
  • Articles in student newsletter and articles in
    external publications
  • Information posted on Blackboard and Facebook
  • Seneca College Orientation Open House
  • Networking
  • International Mentoring Association
  • Toronto Mentoring Community of Practice (MCOP)
  • Conferences, seminars and workshops
  • International Mentoring Month Participation

31
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Marketing
32
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Lead Mentor
Program
  • After one semester, mentors are eligible to
    become Lead Mentors - which are paid Work-Study
    positions within the College (Leads are usually
    identified in mentor training)
  • Lead Mentors
  • provide SMILE staff with support at SMILE events
  • use their strengths to provide assistance in
    various aspects of the SMILE program e.g. graphic
    design, administrative tasks
  • conduct classroom visits with staff for program
    recruitment
  • have enhanced resume and employability skills
  • build leadership skills
  • are a vital part of the SMILE team
  • are often called on by the college to be Seneca
    ambassadors as they have excellent presentation
    and leadership skills

33
Lead Mentor Testimonials
  • I feel that joining SMILE has done more for me
    in building my confidence than any other
    experience I have had in my life.
  • Jeff
  • Nothing can quite match the self-satisfaction I
    get from sharing my own experiences with others.
    Being a Lead Mentor has been the greatest way to
    build new skills too.
  • Jovie

34
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Recognition
Ceremony
  • Graduation Ceremony held annually for all
    students who became mentors in the previous year
  • Attended by President of Seneca, Vice President
    of Student Success and Director of Counselling,
    other VIPs, as well as family and friends of
    students
  • Students receive certificate signed by Dean and
    SMILE Coordinator
  • Speeches by VP, Coordinator and Valedictorian or
    Alumnus mentor
  • Refreshments, mingling and photo opportunities!

35
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities FACEBOOK
  • Launched in November 2007 at S_at_Y as a trial
  • Will be available to all mentors and protégés
    from March 2008
  • Will allow mentors and protégés to connect across
    campuses
  • Will include a discussion board
  • Event postings and pictures
  • Use the technology the students are using
  • SMILE Program Assistant and Lead Mentor are
    administrators who will also monitor for
    offensive content and pictures

36
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37
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Mentoring
Month
  • January is National Mentoring Month
  • SMILE celebrates this event with a variety of
    events at two campuses
  • Events include a Volunteer Information Fair
  • Random Act of Kindness Day with free hot
    chocolate, raffle at SMILE table
  • Fundraising Activities
  • This year SMILE partnered with SickKids Hospital
    and all monies raised were donated to the
    SickKids Foundation

38
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Volunteer
Fair Testimonial
  • Our time spent at the Seneca College Campus
    showed us how community minded much of our youth
    are.  The news is filled with negative stories on
    youth, not enough time is devoted to the vast
    majority who, like yourselves, express concern
    and a desire to help their fellow kind.  Thank
    you.
  • Lion Paul Baker, Vice District Governor,
    District A711 Lions International

39
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Campus
Events
  • Twice a semester Lunch N Learn sessions
  • Networking breakfasts
  • Sundae Mondays
  • Include talks on topics such as
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Exam Stress Management
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Tax Tips
  • Personal Growth and Development
  • Travel deals for students
  • Student focused events are designed to address
    student issues, provide opportunities to meet
    fellow mentors and protégés and to have fun,
    allowing students to build a supportive network

40
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Mentor Club
  • Additional opportunities for mentors to develop
    leadership and employability skills
  • Club is part of the Seneca Student Federation and
    organizes events for the student body as a whole
  • The Mentor Club from Seneca _at_ York won the Award
    for Best Club in 2005

41
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Leadership
Award
  • The SMILE Mentoring Program sponsors an annual
    financial award
  • Granted to a mentor for their demonstrated
    leadership and contribution to student life
  • Award is presented at the Student Services
    Leadership Award Banquet

42
SMILE Mentoring Program Activities Liberal Arts
Credit
  • After completing mentor training, mentors are
    eligible to undertake SOC105
  • The course is 12 weeks in length and is an online
    format
  • Gives the students a Liberal Arts Credit towards
    their College diploma

43
Liberal Arts Course Components
Critical and creative thinking
Discussion Forums
Emotional Intelligence
Being an effective mentor
Cultural diversity
Time Management
Mentoring
Conflict Management
Problem solving and goal setting
Leadership
44
SMILE Mentoring Program Challenges
  • There is student turnover every semester as new
    students start programs and other students
    graduate
  • This leads to recruitment drives (for mentors and
    protégés) and mentor training every semester
  • New lead mentors have to be selected and trained
    at each campus as established ones graduate

45
SMILE Mentoring Program Challenges
  • Running a uniform program on three campuses with
    limited staff available
  • The database needs to be constantly updated and
    students GPAs checked. Students need to be
    emailed concerning their status in SMILE
  • SMILE is unable to expand program to all campuses
    with current staff complement

46
SMILE Mentoring Program Staffing
  • Full Time
  • Coordinator
  • 1 Faculty
  • 2 fulltime Support Staff
  • Part Time
  • 1 Part time Support Staff (24 hours)
  • 5 Lead Mentors per campus

47
Diversity
What makes Senecas community diverse?
48
Diversity Then Non-Traditional Student
  • Mature students
  • Younger students
  • Working students
  • International students
  • Students from different cultures
  • First generation students
  • Newly immigrated students
  • Disabled students
  • Gay and lesbian students

49
Diversity
What makes YOUR community diverse?
Adapted from POWER Learning
50
Diversity Culture
  • Culture is a groups shared collective meaning
    system through which the groups collective
    values, attitudes, beliefs, customs, and thoughts
    are understood.
  • Barnett and Lee (2001)

51
Sociocultural Factors
  • Acculturative stress
  • (J. W. Berry, in Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy)
  • Negative consequences that result from contact
    between two distinctive cultural groups

52
Culture Shock
  • Occurs when you encounter a culture with little
    in common with your own
  • Can experience sense of confusion, anxiety,
    stress and loss
  • Need to learn the values and message systems that
    characterize the new culture
  • (Beebe, Beebe and Ivy)

53
Adapting To Cultural Change (J. W. Berry)
  • Assimilation
  • Individuals relinquish their cultural identity
    and move into the larger society. Children and
    teens often fit this pattern.
  • They prefer to speak English, eat Canadian foods
    and be with Canadian friends
  • Their desire to assimilate causes them moderate
    stress (often with family)

54
Adapting to Cultural Change
  • Separation
  • Self-imposed withdrawal from the larger culture.
  • Newcomers avoid contact with the new culture,
    learn minimal English and interact nominally with
    Canadians
  • New immigrants and International students may
    remain separate to a large extent
  • Their level of acculturative stress is high

55
Adapting to Cultural Change
  • Marginalization
  • Newcomers lose or reject their old culture but
    are not able to replace it by entering the new
    dominant culture
  • They are caught between the old and the new, have
    not established friendships and do not feel
    accepted by the new culture
  • They are dysfunctional in both cultures
  • Marginalization is the most stressful of all the
    modes of adaptation
  • Post secondary faculty and counsellors need to be
    aware of and sensitive to marginalized students,
    as do our mentors

56
Adapting to Cultural Change
  • Integration
  • Newcomers maintain their old cultural identity
    while at the same time participating in the
    larger dominant culture.
  • They learn English, work and socialize with
    Canadians but keep language and social ties with
    their cultural community
  • Their level of acculturative stress is low

57
Forging a Connection
  • When students are grappling with their own group
    identity, they may display distancing behaviour
  • These students may be more challenging to forge a
    connection with
  • Mentors need patience and persistence to show
    that they care about the protégé/s

58
Forging a Connection
  • Mentors should not make assumptions about the
    student based on what they think they know about
    the group they belong to
  • A persons social identity is complex
  • Their life experiences are complex too
  • Keep impressions of others complex
  • Try to find a meeting point with the protégé

59
Developing Cultural Competence
  • Dont ignore peoples backgrounds
  • Dont make assumptions about who people are and
    about their experiences
  • Accept differences and respect individuality
    within a certain group
  • Study other cultures customs its okay to ask
    questions
  • Look for opportunities to learn seek out
    students who are different from you

60
Exploring Stereotypes and Prejudices
  • We all have them
  • Important to acknowledge them and explore where
    they have come from
  • There are positive and negative stereotypes

61
Stereotype to Discrimination
  • Stereotype
  • Beliefs and expectations about members of a
    group that are held because of their membership
    in that group.

Prejudice Evaluations or judgments of members
of a group that are based on group membership
rather than on individual characteristics.
Adapted from POWER Learning, 3rd Edition
62
Stereotype to Discrimination
  • Discrimination
  • Negative behaviours directed towards members of
    a group
  • Ethnocentricism
  • Assuming that people from other cultures really
    want to be like us
  • Pride in ones own culture which brings with it
    feelings of superiority while belittling people
    from other groups

63
Exploring Stereotypes and Prejudices
Write down the first word that comes to mind when
you see or hear each of the following
Black
Female
Asian
Unemployed
Muslim
Disabled
Jew
Aboriginal
Gay
Blond
Senior Citizen
64
Program Evaluation
  • In 2006 SMILE undertook extensive program
    evaluation using monkey surveys for protégés and
    mentors
  • Also conducted focus groups
  • Similar program evaluation will be conducted in
    2008

65
Program Evaluation SMILE Survey (2006)
  • 95.7 of Mentors believed that their involvement
    in the SMILE program increased their
    employability skills
  • 90.3 saw themselves being involved in an
    informal or formal mentoring relationship in the
    workplace
  • 97.8 would encourage other students to become a
    mentor and be involved with the SMILE program

66
Program Evaluation SMILE Survey (2006)
  • 70.3 of protégés believed their involvement in
    the SMILE program contributed to their overall
    success at Seneca
  • 90 would recommend the SMILE program to other
    1st year students
  • 86.7 reported that they would like to be a SMILE
    mentor in the future

67
Program Evaluation Retention rates for SMILE
protégés
  • Between the Fall 2004 Winter 2005 Semesters
  • The average retention rate for SMILE protégés
    moving from 1st to 2nd semester was 94.83
  • Vs.
  • During the 2004-5 Academic year
  • the average retention rate for Seneca College as
    a whole from 1st to 2nd year was 67.9
  • Between the Fall 2005 Winter 2006 Semesters
  • The average retention rate for SMILE protégés
    moving from 1st to 2nd semester was 94.29
  • Vs.
  • During the 2005-6 Academic year
  • The average retention rate for Seneca College as
    a whole from 1st to 2nd year was 66.4

68
Program Evaluation Average GPA of Mentors upon
Graduation
  • The average GPA of SMILE mentors who have
    graduated from Seneca was 3.43 (2006)
  • Mentoring often encourages students to work
    harder and to become positive role models
  • Research has shown that becoming a mentor often
    motivates students and renews their interest in
    their college program

69
Benefits of Participation Mentors
  • Our trained mentors will gain knowledge and
    skills in
  • 1. Effective Communication
  • 2. Social Interaction
  • 3. Problem Solving
  • 4. Team Building
  • 5. Self Awareness
  • 6. Learning Styles
  • 7. Boundaries
  • 8. Diversity
  • Develop strong leadership skills
  • Increase employability skills/resume building
  • Become involved in the Seneca College community
  • Receive a Certificate of Achievement and a
    transcript notation
  • Attend mentor graduation ceremony with President
    of Seneca

70
Benefits of Participation Protégés
  • Assistance in a smooth transition to College thus
    promoting a positive college experience
  • Connection to college resources, which are needed
    for a student to succeed and stay in school
  • Learning Centre Tutoring
  • Counselling
  • Student Services
  • Academic Advisement
  • College policies and procedures
  • Gain a dedicated confidante to discuss issues
    that might be interfering with school
  • Gain a sense of belonging within the College
    community
  • Potential increase in GPA
  • Enhance communication skills and self confidence
  • Meet new people and network with other students

71
Benefits of Participation Longterm
  • SMILE focuses on much more than student retention
    as it fosters the development of transferable
    skills in our students that will significantly
    impact their success in the workplace
  • By participating in the SMILE program, students
    gain skills that employers are seeking, which may
    not have been fully developed through academic
    studies alone

72
Benefits of Participation The Word From
Employers
  • Seneca Co-op Co-ordinators recently indicated
    that employers often report a need for skills
    such as oral and written communication, team work
    and problem-solving, which are required for
    todays workplace. Our graduates would benefit
    from further development in these areas.
  • SMILE offers students the opportunity to develop
    these skills

73
Benefits to the College
  • Increased student engagement within the College
    has been shown to have a positive effect on
    retention of first year students
  • A review of the literature has shown that
    mentoring programs have proven to have a positive
    impact on students, encouraging them to complete
    their programs to graduation

74
Literature Review
  • A review of mentoring program research models has
    revealed that successful mentoring programs have
    several things in common
  • Administrative buy-in
  • Effective mission statement and statement of
    purpose
  • Specific selection and job descriptions of
    mentors
  • Advanced support and evaluation
  • Mandel (1998)

75
Literature Review
  • Most of the research measuring the effects of
    mentoring has focused on first year students
  • The rationale is
  • 1. the first year shapes subsequent persistence
  • 2. the largest proportion of institutional
    dropout occurs in the first year (Hicks 2005)

76
Literature Review
  • The value of student mentoring programs has been
    supported by a number of studies (BBBSA, 2007
    Carter 2000 Fowler Muckert, 2004 Webb, 1999
  • Some of these studies determined the impact of
    mentoring on academic performance while others
    studied the relation of mentoring to persistence
    in the students core program

77
Literature Review
  • Most prominent theorist on student retention is
    Victor Tinto, whose Interactionalist Theory was
    first published in 1975
  • It has been widely tested and accepted by the
    educational community (NVCC, 2001 Chaves 2006
  • Tinto believed that a students tendency to stay
    in college was related to the degree to which the
    student felt integrated into the social and
    academic life of the college. (Summers, 2003)

78
Literature Review
  • Improvements in the quality of student life and
    learning, not retention, should be the goal of
    all retention strategies.
  • Tinto - in Student Retention Task Force,
    Nipisseng University, March 2006

79
Literature Review
  • The theory of academic and social integration
    received extensive study throughout the 1990s
  • Most theories focused on three dominant
    contributing factors
  • student financial assistance
  • career clarification
  • peer support
  • Studies have found that retention is highly
    correlated with students relationships with
    their peers. Astin, A.W. (1977)

80
Literature Review
  • Studies have shown that students who are
    immigrants, adult learners and first generation
    College attendees, members of minority groups and
    disabled individuals have pre-existing issues
    that impact their ability to be persistent at
    college
  • Oesterreich, H. 1999
  • Brawer, F. 1996
  • Wilkie, T 1999)
  • Mentoring could have a positive impact on such
    students (Conrad, J. 1993)

81
Literature Review
  • Research also shows that mentoring programs are
    especially useful for students who have already
    experienced challenges that influence their
    ability to attend College, and for marginalized
    students who may have added obstacles that
    increase their likelihood of dropping out of
    school
  • Szeleny,K (2001), Wilkie, T. (1999)

82
SMILE Research
  • HRSDC research project in 2006 in School of
    Accounting and Finance with at risk students
  • Foundations for Success project funded by
    Millennium Scholarship Foundation and Ontario
    Government 2007 - 2009
  • SMILE research conducted by Market Probe Canada
    starting in Fall 2008

83
SMILE Research HRSDC Project
  • The School of Accounting and FinanceEnhancing
    Student Success in Post Secondary Education
  • This was a three year HRSDC funded pilot research
    project completed in 2006
  • The aim of the project was to document the impact
    of 4 intervention strategies on the retention and
    success outcomes of students who had been
    identified as being "at risk".
  • SMILE Mentoring was a partner in this project
  • 96 of participants reported that they benefited
    from peer mentoring

84
SMILE Research Foundations for Success Research
Project
  • Seneca is leading first of its kind, nine
    million dollar research project to study whether
    a combination of mentoring, tutoring, career
    support, college integration and financial aid
    will increase the success rate of at-risk
    students at Newnham campus
  • Seneca is partnering with Mohawk and
    Confederation Colleges and helped these colleges
    establish their mentoring programs during Summer
    2007

85
SMILE Research Market Probe Canada, 2008-2009
  • Primary objective of study is to determine the
    efficacy of the SMILE Mentoring Program in
    increasing retention rates among first year,
    full-time students
  • Other objectives are to understand if program
  • Increases student self-confidence
  • Increases engagement in college activities
  • Increases student academic performance

86
References
  • Astin, A.W. (1977). What matters most in college
    Four critical years. San Francisco Jossey-Bass.
  • Barnett, G. A., Lee, M. (2002). Issues in
    intercultural communication. In W. B. Gudykunst
    B. Mody (Eds.), Handbook of International and
    Intercultural Communication (pp. 275-290).
    Thousand Oaks, CA Sage.
  • BBBSA (2007), School-based Mentoring, Big
    Brother, Big Sister, lthttp//www.bbbs.org/site/c.d
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