I!CAN Mentor WE!CAN Mentor initiative is a program of the Canton Public School District (CPSD) where members of the community and community organizations embrace the students, families, teachers and staff by becoming student mentors; adopting and providing mentors for classes of students; or adopting the entire school.

This movement enables the Canton Public School District to have a multifaceted mentoring program where community and faith-based organizations take ownership of the program’s success. The program was piloted and implemented in the two Canton middle schools and the 9th grade academy at the high school. It is anticipated that all schools in the Canton Public School District will become a part of this Mentoring/Volunteer movement as envisioned by Superintendent Cassandra Williams.

The CPSD Mentoring Movement is guided by the theory of Possible Selves (PS) that describes how future-oriented thought provides identity-relevant information and motivation to pursue self-relevant goals.  PS represents individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provides a conceptual link between cognition and motivation. (Markus and Nurius, 1986).

CPSD partnered with the Tri-K Group and the JSD Foundation to expand the Ambassadors of the Evers Academy for African-American Males (A-TEAAM), a mentoring program that utilized an established and research based curriculum and the ‘village’ approach to offer one-on-one and group mentoring. 

The A-TEAAM addresses leadership and character development that assists with providing inspiration for positive behavioral changes through various character traits. Once the students have been exposed to a rich history, access to a caring mentor and a look into what they might aspire to be, this shifts many of the Ambassadors’ thought processes from what they are used to seeing to more options that can lead to positive outcomes.


Overall Goals of CPSD Mentoring Program

The overall goal of the CPSD Mentoring/Volunteer Program is to Empower, Educate, Engage, Execute and Evaluate the implementation of the program the first year and then to Expand the program to include all schools in the Canton Public School District.

  • To Empower the Community to be a part of every child’s growth and development
  • To Educate the Community regarding the implementation of the mentoring plan for each child and to train them regarding the curriculum/toolkit to be utilized
  • To Engage Mentors, faith-based organizations and the community to become a part of the plan
  • To Execute the Volunteer/Mentoring Plan for CPSD
  • To Evaluate the Effectiveness of the CPSD Mentoring Plan
  • To Expand the mentoring program to other schools



Specific Goals for the Pilot Year

During the pilot year, 2016 -2017, the following schools participated in the program:

Nichols Middle School, Porter Middle School and the Ninth Grade Academy at Canton High School. The principals and counselors selected 16-20 students from each school to participate in the program.


Empower the Community

A Community Advisory Board (CAB) was developed to give advice and support the Mentor Program.



A comprehensive leadership and character development curriculum was developed.  This curriculum was shared with the CPSD Board, the Community Advisory Board and the Mentors.


Mentors were recruited from community organizations, businesses, churches/faith-based institutions and   other civic groups in the Canton area.

Screening of volunteers/mentors was also implemented with Volunteer applications and the district’s reference back ground check.


Educate and Engage:

Site Coordinators for each school received training.

Mentors also received 2-3 hours of training on the Curriculum and “How to be an Effective Mentor”.



Mentors implemented the curriculum activities

Monitoring, support and technical assistance were provided by the staff and Tri-K group representatives.



Students completed a pre and post assessment.

Mentors, Teachers, Administrators and parents completed evaluations.

Tri-K consultants are in the process of analyzing the data to provide a comprehensive report to the Superintendent and the CPSD School Board.



Once the evaluation information is reviewed, the expansion recommendations will be made regarding how to expand the mentoring program in other schools.