The Odyssey School Partners with Eye to Eye to Launch Mentoring Program with Morgan State University

The Odyssey School Partners with Eye to Eye to Launch 
Mentoring Program with Morgan State University

Neurodiverse college students inspire Odyssey middle schoolers to cultivate self-advocacy skills

The Odyssey School, a K-8 community embracing students with dyslexia, announces a dual partnership with Eye to Eye, an organization advocating for inclusion and educational equity for neurodiverse learners, and Morgan State University, Maryland’s largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU). 

The partnership is designed to establish a “Near-Peer Mentoring Program” on Odyssey’s campus led by Morgan students. The Eye to Eye Near-Peer Mentoring Program is a nationwide initiative that empowers students with learning differences through mentorship. College and high school students with learning differences serve as mentors, engaging in art-based activities that promote concepts like resilience and self agency with middle school mentees. 

“We are looking forward to watching our students gain self-advocacy skills by working closely with Morgan students and using Eye to Eye’s highly esteemed, tried-and-true curriculum,” said Kate McElderry, Odyssey’s Director of Outreach. “The impact of meeting other young adults who are neurodiverse is unparalleled. It creates a safe and supportive space where both mentors and mentees can openly discuss their challenges and cultivate their strengths.”

This will be the second Near-Peer Mentoring Program active in Maryland and the second established nationally with an HBCU.

"We're honored to partner with The Odyssey School and Morgan State University to provide our Near-Peer Mentoring Program to support young people who learn differently,” said Josh Cruz, Associate Director of Partnerships at Eye to Eye. “This program creates a community where younger learners grow their social and emotional learning and gain inspiration from positive role models. At the same time, older students are provided hands-on opportunities to develop and practice their leadership and workforce development skills."

For the 2023-24 school year, eight Morgan students from the University’s Department of Teacher Education and Professional Development will be paired with 19 Odyssey middle schoolers. The mentors will visit Odyssey once per week from January 26 through May 2024.

“This collaboration continues the extensive experiences that Morgan State University provides to its teacher interns,” said Simone Gibson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Morgan’s Department of Teacher Education & Professional Development. “The Near-Peer Mentoring Program involvement is going to help to further develop educators who are knowledgeable, inclusive, and empowered to better support their future students.”

Other colleges and universities interested in establishing a similar mentoring program are invited to contact Outreach at The Odyssey School at outreach@theodysseyschool.org