Do you want to inspire and motivate students to succeed? Would you like to share your story? Do you have as little as two hours a year to motivate students? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should become a student motivator!

 What is the Student Motivation and Mentoring Program?

The Black Star Project's Student Motivation and Mentoring Program (SMMP), launched in 1996, is a school-based motivational speaking and whole-classroom-mentoring model effort that strives to:

  • Inspire and motivate students to do well in school
  • Expose students to various college and career options
  • Encourage students towards healthy and positive lives
  • Help students develop viable life plans and make good decisions

SMMP aims to eliminate the inspirational and motivational education, career-exposure and life gaps between Black and Latino students and their White and Asian peers. Students are introduced to new life and career possibilities, the importance of education and staying in school, the value of college and other post-secondary school preparation, and the benefits of working hard. Furthermore, students learn about the skills and education required for various career paths and steps they can take to reach their goals. 

Why is this program important?

Motivation and mentoring compliment the education and development of middle- to upper-grade students by opening their eyes to ideas, opportunities and possibilities beyond what they may know exists before volunteers visit their classroom. When students see examples of what they can become, they are more likely to take school seriously, do better in school academically and behaviorally, and graduate from elementary and high school with post-secondary school aspirations. Additionally, the program’s career exposure, overall motivational support and whole classroom mentoring model provide powerful opportunities for disadvantaged Black and Latino students to be valued.

How do I become a volunteer motivator/mentor?

We look for career professionals and entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds—business, government, finance, education, construction, medicine, law, engineering, technology, communications and more—to contribute their invaluable energy as volunteers. Sharing their experiences and lessons while interacting with students, SMMP motivator/mentors benefit from opportunities to impact the lives of economically disadvantaged students in their communities while having fun! Anyone who has a positive message or story to share is needed and welcomed! Please contact Ivory Harris at 773.285.9600 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule your orientation and begin the process to become a volunteer. 

Would you like to bring this program to your school?

The Black Star Project’s SMMP is open to any school in Chicago with a 6th- through 12th-grade student population, including those that are public, private, parochial, or charter. SMMP speakers usually visit participating schools every other month (four times per school year) and address two or three classrooms per visit. TBSP manages motivator recruitment, screening, and orientation, and schedules school visits. Schools simply assign a contact person and identify potential dates. There is no cost associated with this program. Please contact Ivory Harris at 773.285.9600 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to register your school in the SMMP.

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