Valor Academy High School Launches New Mentorship Program, M.A.N.E.

Post written by Stacie Santoya, VAHS Connector

This year, Valor Academy High School (“VAHS”) partnered with Susan Kozlowski, co-founder of the L.I.F.T. Foundation, to create the M.A.N.E. program. M.A.N.E. stands for Mentors Advocating for New Experiences, and our hope is that this program will create and support mentoring relationships between positive peer role models and other students at our school who are facing challenges in their social and academic lives. With the motto “Helping Every Student Find Their Roar,” we aim to help each student discover what makes him or her the most successful.


There are different levels of the M.A.N.E. program. The first level begins with five L.I.F.T. scholars who come from universities across California and act as mentors to our students, using their high school and college experiences to prepare our students for the years ahead. These college mentors from L.I.F.T. work with 16 of our juniors and four of our sophomores here at VAHS.

The second level involves 20 VAHS scholars, who will act as mentors for all of Valor Academy. With the support of their L.I.F.T. mentors and the knowledge gained from their own experiences, these high school mentors will help other VAHS students to gain high levels of academic success.

M.A.N.E. worked to put on several events throughout the past summer to prepare for the academic school year. These events included a lunch social to introduce Valor Academy students to the L.I.F.T. scholars, provided an introduction to the program, and involved teambuilding activities to help the scholars get to know each other. Next, the connectors took the students on a trip that included camping and visiting college campuses. We visited the La Jolla Indian Reservation where we participated in a scavenger hunt, river rafting and bonding games, and the students were matched with their new mentors. After camping, we took the students to UC San Diego and San Diego State University to explore the various opportunities they have for their future academic career. During the trip, all of our students were able to form stronger bonds with their L.I.F.T. mentors and each other.

The M.A.N.E. Program is off to a great start! VAHS’s mentors will be working with the school throughout the year to increase positive culture, academic motivation, and college preparedness among all students. We are excited to work towards continued success with this program and to help our scholars grow into passionate, respectful young adults.

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