Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish someone would have told you something earlier on in life? Maybe if you would have had a guide or a mentor, you would have known and made a more educated decision.
Many are fortunate to have had devoted parents and educators to guide them from kindergarten through high school– and in many cases through college and career as well.
However, not all students have had that same opportunity. Whether it’s because of working multiple jobs or not recognizing the importance of postsecondary education, parents aren’t always having these vital conversations on college, coursework, and career planning with their children. Too often, students from low-income homes in Hamilton County are not hearing these messages. For many of these students, they will be the first in their family to attend college–if they choose to do so.
Governor Haslam has made attending college easier through the Tennessee Promise, which provides two years of community college or technical school tuition-free to graduating high school seniors.
Through the partnering organization, tnAchieves, students utilizing Tennessee Promise are matched with a mentor in their area. Mentors serve as a resource and send reminders about important dates, share their own experience, and provide encouragement to help students realize they can go to school and have a promising future.
Since many of these students are not hearing positive and encouraging messages at home, mentors play a critical role in making sure the students continue reaching for their goals and stay committed to attaining a postsecondary degree.
Each mentor is matched with 1-3 students. The time commitment for mentors is around twelve hours per year and is as intensive as you want it to be. Mentors of all backgrounds and occupations are welcome and can make a difference.
The role of a mentor looks different with each student. It could even be as simple as talking to the student on his/her first day of class as they explore campus and figure out where to park.
In Hamilton County, we’ve currently only recruited 18% of the mentors we need to ensure all our students utilizing Tennessee Promise are matched.
Mentoring students to help them stay in college and complete their associate or bachelor degree is just one way we can move the needle towards becoming the Smartest Community in the South.
Help a student get through the door and get a degree. It only takes twelve hours a year to change a life. Apply today to be a tnAchieves mentor!