Ophelia Project empowers and encourages teenage girls to increase their sense of self-worth and maximize their potential contribution to society.
The Ophelia Project, a program of John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation since 1998, is a comprehensive five year group mentoring program serving hundreds of girls annually in 8th through 12th grade, in all three Unified School Districts in Coachella Valley. Unlike other mentoring programs held after school and on weekends, the Ophelia model consists of group mentoring that takes place in the schools during the school day at the invitation of the school districts. The goals of the Ophelia Project are to: increase grade point averages; reduce drop-out rates; reduce absenteeism, build self-esteem; increase graduation rates; increase parent engagement in their child’s academics; promote higher education pursuing college or trade school; encourage career goal setting; and receive scholarship assistance.
The program model includes customized curriculum designed to support each school district’s goals and philosophies, and the comprehensive certification training required of all program volunteers (mentors). We utilize over 200 volunteer mentors and community partner guest speakers, who receive the training to become certified in the Ophelia model. The curriculum is designed to encourage: high school completion, college and career tutoring; goal setting; art projects designed to engage students and enhance scholastic achievement; healthy relationships; building self-confidence; teen obesity awareness; delaying having children; bullying prevention; substance abuse prevention; self-defense skills; financial planning; community service; business etiquette and provides opportunities for academic scholarships. By participating in planned activities with these volunteer mentor “role models”, teens are assisted with setting goals for their future and are guided away from at-risk behaviors and environments. Our objective is to encourage young girls to acquire the skills necessary to make their dreams a reality.
Our volunteers are adult females who come from all walks of life and have one thing in common: They are excellent role models for young girls. Mentors possess good listening skills; are responsible, objective and non-judgmental; demonstrate good leadership; are trustworthy and supportive; and exhibit positive attitudes. Our mentors strongly believe in the philosophies of the Ophelia Project and generously commit appreciable time and effort to mentoring activities as well as mentoring training requirements. All staff and volunteers associated with The Ophelia Project must successfully complete the required trainings before working with the girls of the Ophelia Project.
“Ophelia has given me skills to achieve all great things…
I am a strong and empowered woman…
I have confidence to be myself and to know that I can achieve anything…
how thankful I am to begin my journey on the road to success
because of the help of the Ophelia Project”.
Most activity occurs during the school year (September – early June). This schedule is attractive to part-time residents who can participate actively during most of the school year. Mentors participate in events, assist with administrative needs as requested and attend a monthly meeting. During the school year, Ophelia girls at each school receive 2 group-mentored programs per month. Each mentor spends approximately 8-12 hours/month with the Ophelia program. Summers are spent preparing for the next school year with available mentors; time demand then is minimal.
2014 Luncheon Highlights
Presentation of scholarships during the end-of-year Ophelia Project Luncheon, May of 2014
The exciting opportunity we now have: The Ophelia Project of Coachella Valley has been designated as the National Ophelia Project Headquarters. We are very honored to be asked by the original leaders in Erie, Pennsylvania to take over this responsibility, and we take it very seriously. Being asked to take the national leadership of this program is greatly due to the development of the Ophelia Project Coachella Valley model. The success of this model speaks for itself.
To date, the Ophelia Project has served 3,500 girls since 1998. Our vision is to continue to provide and expand the Ophelia Project in the valley. We are currently serving 14 schools but there are 27 schools identified as Ophelia sites and all are asking for this program. Our two year plan is to complete the build out of serving all 27 schools in Coachella Valley. Our three to five year plan is to establish regional hubs in identified markets; in fact many cities are already asking us if they can have the Ophelia Project model in their schools. We are currently working to assure that our model is prepared as a successful franchise model.
Supporting the Ophelia Project is an investment in the long-term growth and future wellbeing of our community. An educated, well-trained workforce is the most valuable asset to a community. By helping our children aspire to a brighter future, you will be planting seeds for future growth to support overall economic development and quality of life in the Coachella Valley!
“Ophelia helped me grow into the person I am today... it not only helped boost my self-confidence
and self-esteem, but it taught me valuable life lessons that I wouldn’t have learned in a classroom…
The annual trip to College of the Desert campus has opened my eyes as to
what is waiting for me after I graduate”.
How Do I Apply to Become a Mentor?
Recruitment for volunteer Mentors is ongoing throughout the year; Mentor Orientation and Enrichment Training takes place during August and September. The Ophelia Project of Coachella Valley needs women who have attributes and backgrounds beneficial to our program to enhance its value for young women. If you are interested in joining and are able to commit the time and effort required, call our office at 760-776-1600 x 108, for more information. The screening process will include completing an application with references, an interview, orientation and fingerprinting. The one time processing fee is paid by each mentor who joins the Ophelia Project. Once the process has been successfully completed, mentors attend the required trainings to become certified Ophelia Project Mentors (including Mandated Reporter, Confidentiality, and trainings specific to current programming).
Ophelia Girls engaged in typical Ophelia session activity during the spring of 2014
News Coverage 2013 (video)
“ Ophelia has become a sort of refuge where I know there are other girls going through similar things like me… it has been a crucial part of my formation into a more compassionate human being... and greatly
inspired me to be a better person”.
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