Mentoring Youths, Creating News

Nicole Medawar, Reporter

Junior Sydney Lyle rushes to 7th Street Elementary after a day of classes, buzzes herself into the office, and signs in. She then heads over to the computer lab where she is greeted by 30 elementary school kids who are thrilled to see her. 

“Hi guys, today we’re going to be writing a persuasive essay and I want you to convince me what your favorite subject is. Go!” Lyle instructs her students.

All 30 kids start writing furiously and excitedly. These kids participate in PressFriends to become better writers and learn about journalism. 

PressFriends is a volunteer organization run by youths, mainly made up of students from PVPUSD, who help elementary school students research ideas, write articles and create a newspaper. 

Most of the high school participants were in the program as an elementary school student before participating as a mentor. The mentors help the students select and research topics. They then help the students write articles about the topics they are interested in and organize them in a school newspaper.

Along with mentoring, there is a yearly opportunity to take students to USC to hear from speakers and get a “hands on” learning experience.

Senior Olivia Spaulding has spent many hours volunteering at PressFriends and is currently on the board serving as one of the Presidents. 

Spaulding expressed that she joined the organization because of her experience as a child. 

“I loved the program as a kid and wanted others to have the same experience. The aspect of the older kids helping out younger elementary school kids creates a fun mentoring environment in which better writing skills are formed,” Spaulding said. 

Spaulding now volunteers once a week for 7th Street Elementary school during the school year, and runs a week long program in the summer. 

Lyle chooses to volunteer every Thursday in the Fall and Spring. The volunteer locations are elementary schools expanding throughout the Los Angeles area. 

Lyle has shared that the most enjoyable mentoring experience was taking the kids to a movie premiere and then helping the children write about the premiere.  

Senior Sarah Liu is also heavily involved with the organization as Co-Vice President of training. She recalls the fun field trip to USC that PressFriends provides for the children. 

“It’s a great experience for the children to explore a professional campus and talk to graduate students about journalism. This opportunity definitely broadens their horizons,” Liu said.