CalPREP is back for a second year! CalPREP Fellows across the state are getting settled into their roles and sites, recruiting volunteer mentors to work with students one-on-one, focusing on college and career readiness. We started off strong with the 20th Anniversary Celebration of AmeriCorps, when CalPREP Fellows and other CalSERVES AmeriCorps members came together with over a thousand other spirited members serving their communities in areas across California. This was an opportunity to share our passions for, and motivations behind, our work, and to learn strategies from other programs with similar missions and goals. It was also a fantastic team-building event for our VIP and CalPREP Fellows!
In terms of our transition into the second year of the CalPREP Program, we learned a lot from year one. We learned strategies to recruit and manage volunteer mentors as a team and the importance of sharing ideas, motivation, and positive energy. We learned so much about working with a specialized, college and career readiness curriculum. We learned how to better integrate the program into the many other activities that happen at our sites, including CalSERVES tutoring and afterschool activities. CalSERVES owes a lot to last year’s pioneer CalPREP Fellows; they learned a lot of these lessons the hard way through trial and error, but their dedication and commitment helped us to start the year with a strong foundation upon which to build.
I am extremely proud of, and energized by, the team of CalPREP Fellows that we have this year. They continually prove their dedication and commitment to the mission of helping students discover their passions and develop long term goals towards future college and career success. More than anything, they are kind, compassionate, and thoughtful. They understand the systemic socioeconomic obstacles that our students face on their way to college and career success. They also understand the importance of connecting with students as individuals, in order to best match them with the right mentor who will help them develop a identify interests, set goals, and develop a positive plan for the future.
Last year, CalPREP Fellows recruited volunteer mentors who provided students with almost 3,000 hours of college and career mentoring at 27 sites. I have no doubt that, with the lessons learned and foundation built from last year, we will quickly surpass these numbers. CalPREP Fellows will continue to work tirelessly, recruiting mentors, developing engaging college and career activities, and helping students reach dreams that they may not have known they had until participating in the program.
by Liz Foster-Shaner, Volunteer Programs Assistant