In the CalPREP AmeriCorps program, AmeriCorps members create a mentoring program that matches volunteer mentors 1:1 with students to increase the student’s college knowledge and readiness. All of our mentors walk through our college readiness-mentoring curriculum with their students – but that’s not all there is to a mentoring relationship! Our volunteer mentors also spend time bonding with students to make an even bigger impact on their desire to engage with the college-readiness materials.
In this reflection from Elizabeth Foster-Shaner, CalPREP Fellow at Kawana Academy in Santa Rosa, we get a peek into the view of the program from one of our AmeriCorps members:
“The mentor/mentee matches are going better than I expected! I love to see the commonalities in the pairs, not only in terms of interests, but also in terms of personality characteristics. It’s nice to know that I laid the foundation of trust with my students so that they can feel comfortable working with a new adult. My mentors and mentees are coming together on really unique and specific goals for the semester, such as playing guitar, creating a logo, playing basketball, and hip hop dance. I am allowing time for them to bond over these common interests [in addition to the curriculum] because I think it is crucial to the mentoring relationship.
I am also developing a greater understanding of the purpose of the program, primarily for our 5th graders. Although new mentors are surprised by the fact that we are starting college and career preparation in students who are so young, I see this program as crucial for decreasing the gap between our high need students, and those from more privileged backgrounds who are learning this kind of “insider knowledge” almost from birth through their parents and other adult role models who went to college. Our mentors, based on their own experiences with college and their goals and passions are filling that role and hopefully inspiring and motivating our students to dream big.”
CalPREP volunteer mentors have been making a huge impact all around California as they partner with students. We are so thankful for their service and impact! Our CalPREP AmeriCorps Fellows make their service possible by recruiting these volunteers, training them, building the mentoring program – and of course, making sure the volunteer mentors feel appreciated for their hard work. Recently, CalPREP Fellow Michael Abitz and his site, Boys & Girls Club of Tustin, recently honored their mentor of the month, Glynnis McDonnell. We’re thankful for your work too, Glynnis – thank you for making an impact by making college more accessible for your mentee!