The Boston Bar Association has reached a key point in its partnership with the Boston Debate League (BDL), and is now seeking volunteers to serve as mentors. The mentors, who should be lawyers or law firm professional staff, will help support academic debate leagues in Boston Public High Schools (BPS) while expanding the pipeline of racially and ethnically diverse young people who may choose to become lawyers.
The commitment is significant but gratifying: From September through March of the coming school year, volunteer mentors will be assigned to attend a weekly, after school debate practice session lasting between one and two hours. All volunteers must submit to a CORI check and participate in a three hour training seminar to qualify for the program.
Why make the commitment? First, because BDL debate teams need your help. Despite the relatively small size of BPS schools compared to other major metropolitan areas, their debate teams are on average the largest in the country, often with teams in excess of 60 students. Teachers are the primary coaches, but they need your help. Second, consider the following statistics provided from BDL:
- Debaters are three times less likely to drop out of school than non-debaters
- African-American males who debate, in particular, are 70 per more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t.
- Urban debaters improved both their Reading and English ACT scores by 15 percent
- Urban debaters are 34 percent (English) and 74 percent (Reading) more likely to achieve the college readiness benchmarks after just two years in debate.
This important public service program highlights the BBA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and willingness to invest in Boston’s youth.
To volunteer please contact Stephanie Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-778-1914.