In 2000, Hopkins alum Wesley Moore worked with the Baltimore juvenile justice system to bring to life an innovative, mentoring program called STAND! (Students Taking A New Direction), which paired middle-school-age children with a college mentor. The children participating in the program were children who seemed to be heading down the wrong path due to all sorts of reasons; children who were showing disruptive behavior; students who were losing interest in school. By spending time with mentors, the children were able to have another positive influence in their lives and were able to take away something inspiring from the experience.
Mr. Moore’s own childhood was his motivation for starting STAND!. It wasn’t until after his mother enrolled him in Valley Forge Military Academy for the eighth grade that he felt his life began to gain purpose and discipline after a difficult childhood. Since then, Mr. Moore has had many accomplishments in his life including being named a Rhodes Scholar, interning with Baltimore’s Mayor, earning academic honors at Johns Hopkins, winning a Princeton fellowship, Harvard Leadership award and now he is a White House Fellow to Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
Recently Hopkins Senior, Bo Gu and Wes Moore have reestablished STAND! at Hopkins. Those of us working to revive STAND! are confident that this program can be beneficial for the children who participate. We have a group of very enthusiastic students here at Johns Hopkins who are willing to dedicate the time and effort to working on this program to reach its full potential and genuinely care about reaching out to children
The mission for STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) as a service and volunteering organization is to create long term relationships by mentoring, befriending and tutoring first and second time juvenile offenders in Baltimore City.
A mentor will be individually paired up with a mentee according to his/her skills, interests, personality, and compatibility. Mentors have the role as a friend and big brother/sister to have fun with the children through educational and enjoyable activities. Once a month, as a group, the mentors take their mentees to a social event. The event could be a ball game, movie, sport, tour of Hopkins, trip to the zoo, etc. By participating in this program, children’s horizons are broadened and by learning and growing with their mentor, they can take a new path in life. Due to the delicate nature of the mentees’ past, mentors have the responsibility to maintain their relationship over time through any type of communication.
STAND’s ultimate goal is to decrease the violence and legal troubles of the youth in Baltimore. Regardless of our origins, as Hopkins students in Baltimore, it is our obligation to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable in the local community.