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BU graduate aims to mentor, encourage Omaha youth

BU graduate aims to mentor, encourage Omaha youth


LaDazja Ivory receives her bachelor’s in behavioral sciences Saturday at Bellevue University’s Winter Commencement.

One Bellevue University graduate has dedicated her time to mentor and help Omaha high school students plan for their future.

LaDazja Ivory is a mentor for 12th grade students at five Omaha Public Schools through Partnership 4 Kids and AmeriCorps.

A program graduate herself, Ivory learned the importance of mentoring students and encouraging them to prepare for college or careers.

“I think it’s extremely important (to mentor students) because I had a mentor in high school and I still talk to my mentor today,” she said. “It’s important because students and every teen or youth, they need that relationship with someone who’s older than them to be guidance, not a parent or friend.”

Currently in her work load are 100 students from five Omaha schools. Along with that, she also has become a mentor to one college student.

Ivory became involved with P4K in sixth grade, and gained knowledge of college, careers and overall how to socialize and network.

“The program, they stay with you all throughout your high school years and onto college, so they keep that one on one connection with you so you’re building those relationships and networking while you are going through the program,” she said.

Now an AmeriCorps member with P4K, Ivory helps students build résumés, connect with resources for their potential careers and explore college options.

Ivory graduated from BU Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences, which she said she wants to use to work with troubled youth.

Though Ivory said she didn’t know where she wanted to attend school after earning her associate’s degree at Metropolitan Community College, a P4K scholarship brought her to BU.

“I came here and they had an accelerated program and that got my gears going,” she said. “I was like, ‘Eighteen months from now I could be done? I’m signing up.’”

Ivory said BU is a school she’d “highly recommend” to anyone.

“The professors are very knowledgeable, everybody I’ve encountered has been wonderful,” she said.

Though she’ll be in P4K until July, Ivory said her next steps are possibly working with troubled youth, specifically boys in the juvenile delinquency capacity.

Through her professors at BU, Ivory said she gained more insight into helping out students and giving them people to speak with about future plans after college.

“Having professors who are actually in the field, they’ve been able to share so much of their own experiences with me, so it’s prepared me along the way to see this is what you can expect,” she said.

“Bellevue as a whole has helped prepare me for my next step in my journey. Bellevue’s great and I encourage everyone to go to Bellevue if they have the major they want to go into.”

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