Illumna was created primarily in response to what we consider the shortcomings of the traditional education system that students face, the most significant being:
Illumna aims to fill these gaps in the traditional education system in unconventional ways. Our mission is to give students the opportunity to overcome these issues and realize their full potential by:
Illumna offers the Summer Development Program for rising 9th to 12th graders, run by first- and second-year college students. During the program, mentors draw from their own personal experiences to teach mentors leadership skills and tools for success. While we encourage all interested students to apply, mentees from under-resourced backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply, as many of our own mentors come from such backgrounds. Although we are holistic in our review, under-resourced usually means low-income and/or first-generation college student background.
Our program will run from 9 am to 12 pm from Monday to Friday, from July 2nd to July 27th. However, Illumna doesn’t just end there. While the program itself only lasts a summer, it serves to induct mentors and mentees alike into a lifelong “illumni” network of motivated young people.
Find the best mentor for you based on your specific interests and goals
Branch out and explore a growing network of diverse mentors and mentees
Cover important concepts on leadership that don't fit into typical school curriculums
Sharpen skills in workshops devoted to topics such as public speaking and teamwork
Our Mentor System
Our philosophy demands that mentors have the most relevant, up-to-date information that high school students need. That’s why, at Illumna, mentors graduate as well after one summer – to make way for the next generation.
For the same reason, we stress location specificity. The best mentor for a high school student is someone who just graduated from that very high school – someone who knows the ins and outs of the system. This year, we have three branches operated by mentors who recently graduated these local high schools.
- Every session, mentors use the first hour to lead group discussions on that day’s topic of focus, using our textbook as a guide.
- For the next two hours, mentors lead participation-based group activities designed to help students apply the skills learned in the first hour.
- Through 1-on-1 mentorship sessions, students build close relationships with an individually matched mentor.
Throughout the program, mentors and mentees will also periodically go on educational field trips. Field trips engrain classroom lessons through fun activities and foster a sense of community. For the summer of 2019, we have decided on a Museum Trip, Corporate Visit to New York City, Field Day, and a BBQ Cookout day (subject to change).