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Community leaders mentor RHS students during PEPP Summer!

Community leaders will mentor Reading high school students during a week-long program titled PEPP Summer!, which will be held from June 20 –24, 2011, at Penn State Berks. The students will meet with members of the community on Tuesday, June 21, from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Some of the community mentors include Yvonne Stroman, President of Reading School Board; Marcelino Colon, Community Development Director at United Way of Berks County; and Wanda Holdren, Founder of Latin Flair, Inc.
 
PEPP Summer! is the kick-off program for the PEPP Urban Teachers and Leaders Pipeline (PEPP-UTLP) project, a program that provides systemic academic and social support for diverse high school students from Reading in order to build a pipeline of civic leaders and educators for the local community. The main goal of PEPP Summer! is to initiate high school students into the UTLP program, which will continue throughout the year.
 
Some of the activities slated for PEPP Summer! include Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to identify social issues and problems on Monday; a mentorship program that matches students with civic leaders in the community on Tuesday; a panel discussion dealing with planning for college and academic success with Penn State professors and administrators; and one-on-one guidance from Penn State college students on Wednesday.
 
In addition, the week will include trips to the Reading Public Library for assistance with research and to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts for training in arts and/or digital media; special guest speakers from the Philadelphia Student Union and the University of Pennsylvania's Urban Nutrition Initiative to discuss local student civic engagement activities; and leadership training through Forum Theatre and collaborative learning techniques.
 
Participating PEPP students will end the week with a presentation of their civic projects on Friday, from 1–3 p.m. in the Perkins Student Center. Mentors and family members are invited to attend.
 
The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP), an outreach program of Penn State's College of Education, is an early-intervention collaboration between the students of Penn State Berks and the Reading Areas School District. PEPP is an extended school-day intervention initiative that encourages academic potential and to prepare for college.
 
PEPP also serves as a supplemental hands-on pre-service teacher experience for the College of Education’s undergraduate students. PEPP Reading hires undergraduate students from the Penn State Berks, most of which are education majors, to be PEPP Learning Assistants (PLAs). The PLAs must present a lesson plan in addition to tutoring, mentoring, helping with homework, planning and coordinating PEPP student ideas and projects, and learning about classroom management in a diverse urban school environment.
 
For more information, contact Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle, Assistant Professor of Education, at kjb33@psu.edu or Guadalupe Kasper, Program Manager for PEPP, at gur10@psu.edu.
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