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Show Me the Way cover photo

Show Me the Way 2009


Distributed by Show Me the Way
Produced by William Gazecki and Sheila A. Laffey
Directed by William Gazecki and Sheila A. Laffey
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Education, Sociology, Urban Studies

Date Entered: 01/12/2010

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

According to Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Ramón Villaraisoga, the school drop-out rate in his city and in many large urban high schools across the United States is a staggering 50%. For society, the sobering consequence of this statistic is the growth of a largely uneducated or undereducated citizenry. To impede the flood of students leaving the nation’s schools, and by identifying and retaining at risk students who have the potential to complete school, mentoring programs are one possible solution. In this film, five Los Angeles students discuss positive mentoring relationships. By developing a long-term connection with an adult who is not a teacher or parent, the five profiled students, all facing difficult physical or socioeconomic challenges, graduate from high school and go on to college. Also featured are teachers, administrators, advisers and counselors, along with national and local policy makers who have an interest in seeing mentorship programs expand.

Intended for audiences of educators, parents, administrators, service organizations, and potential participants, the comparatively well-made film provides general information about student mentoring programs. In addition to the full-length 72-minute version of the documentary, there are also shorter 60-minute and 30-minute versions, along with a 6-minute trailer. Both the English and Spanish versions are subtitled.

The personal stories of the students profiled are inspiring, as are the stories of others—including Mayor Villaraisoga—who benefited from student mentoring programs. The tone and style of the film is intentionally motivational and persuasive. It is a good introduction to mentoring but viewers will have to look elsewhere for more practical and objective information on establishing and implementing these programs.