Dr. Ellen Quart is the director of the Michigan Mentorship Program and teaches the corresponding university course in the Department of Psychology.
Dr. Quart said the idea first blossomed here after reviewing an experimental, intervention mentorship program in the Detroit Public Schools. Quart and Scott Paris, formerly of the U-M Psychology Department, decided to try a pilot in Ann Arbor and began it with eight U-M students at Pioneer High School in 1994 where they spent 6-8 hours per week mentoring nd helping students.
From there, the program took off.
Quart credits caring and dedicated U-M students as well as individual building coordinators in Ann Arbor for the program’s success.
Others interested in the program have tapped Quart’s experience. U-M Dearborn officials have used her expertise to set up a similar program there with charter schools in the Dearborn area and the state of Florida has consulted with her on a mentor program to help youth who have been incarcerated.
Quart is of the belief that all of us can use a helping hand at some point. “Everyone should have a mentor in his or her life – someone to be their anchor,” she said, noting that everyone should have a special person who is not there to judge, but be supportive and interested in them.”