OTC Middle College and Big Brothers Big Sisters have partnered to create a pilot mentoring program that pairs students with career professionals.
In the program, the mentor meets with the mentee on a monthly basis to help guide the student on a path for success in school and in their future career.
Both the Middle College program and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Springfield are overseeing the program.
“Our mentors are helping students with academics, attendance and future goal setting,” said Tiffany Brunner, Middle College director.
The No. 1 reason students drop out of high school is because they think no one cares, and our mentors will help us keep our students on track, and in pursuit of their goals.
Chelsea Forsee, who became an instructor in the Middle College program after working three years with Big Brothers Big Sisters, is heading up the project. She said the program was established with a $10,000 grant from the Darr Family Foundation.
“This program serves the needs of teens who are looking for someone to talk to about their educational issues and needs,” she said.
The mentors include educators, bankers and administrators.
Dr. Shelia Wynn, assistant principal at Parkview High School, is mentoring Heather Friend, a junior in the Middle College program.
“I thought if I had a mentor it would help me find the right college to attend,” Heather said. “We text each other. It works for me.”
Wynn said she was mentored when she grew up and wanted to pay it forward.
“I had a lot of great mentoring. Mentoring should be a part of everyone’s life,” she said.
While the program is just getting started, Brunner said its impact on students is promising
“Our students can learn steps to take from their mentors that are often invisible unless they have someone guiding them through the process of higher education,” she said.
“We are excited to see what are students are going to do in the future, and there is no doubt that mentors will play a tremendous role.”
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