students in lounge

Engaging Beyond UVA Grounds

When UVA students come to Grounds, they bring with them experience as students in all sorts of schools and as young people in communities all over Virginia, the US, and the world. UVA students who participate in YWLP and MLP report that connecting with the vibrant communities, kids, and families beyond Grounds is something they especially love about serving as a mentor. 

Some of our mentors particularly appreciate learning from and connecting with people and places that are new to them. Others say that finding the similarities between our local community and the places they lived when they were middle school students themselves helps them feel more at home here.

map showing middle schools we work with in Albemarle County
We partner with Community Lab School and Burley, Journey and Lakeside Middle Schools in Albemarle County.

We know that finding ways to engage with the local community can be challenging for students to navigate on their own. We are happy to lend our connections and logistical support to make this possible for more interested students at UVA. 

We facilitate communications among students serving as YWLP or MLP mentors so that serving as a mentor is an option for interested UVA students whether they have access to a car at school or not. We provide gift cards for gas stations so that fuel costs are also not a barrier to participation. 

Our staff works closely with guidance counselors at each of our partnering schools. They identify 7th and 8th grade students that would enjoy and benefit from our mentoring program. 

Middle Schools We Partner With 

Students from different neighborhoods across the local area come together at each of our partnering middle schools, forming distinct community of kids and families within each school. 

group of YWLP participants on rotunda steps

Burley is a middle school serving over 550 6th-8th grade students from the northern and southern parts of Albemarle County.

YWLP participants working on craft projects

Community Lab is a charter school serving 200 6th-12th grade students from all areas of Albemarle County.

group of YWLP participants showing off their craft projects

Journey is a middle school serving over 600 6th-8th grade students from the northern part of Albemarle County.

Girls posing with basketballs

Lakeside is a middle school serving over 500 6th-8th grade students from the northern part of Albemarle County.

Big and Little at YWLP Food Drive

Learning Leadership Through Service

Getting our Littles engaged in service is an important part of the YWLP curriculum. Each YWLP group plans their own service project based on their interests. Past service projects have included coat donation drives, making cards for the children’s hospital, and bake sales to support local non-profits. 

Connecting with Parents 

While YWLP faculty and staff provide evidence-based guidance and support to our Big Sisters, we know that our YWLP parents and guardians are the real experts on our Little Siblings! YWLP staff stay in touch with parents and families throughout the year and are always here to talk. We encourage our mentors to build good relationships and communication with their little’s families. As part of these efforts each mentor completes an interview with someone from their Little’s family in the Fall to help get to know them better.