During National Mentoring Month, we are hosting guest posts about mentoring. The following is from the Charlottesville Scholarship Program.
For more than ten years the Charlottesville Scholarship Program has been assisting low and moderate income Charlottesville High School seniors and adults who currently live in the city and attended CHS, and employees of the City of Charlottesville and Charlottesville City Schools to pursue higher education or technical training to enhance their job skills and employment opportunities. Each year in the spring and in the fall, the program receives applications from eligible candidates. The candidates are typically students and adults who have demonstrated the qualities and skills that will likely make them successful in furthering their education.
The Scholarship Board determined a few years ago that simply awarding a scholarship was only meeting part of the needs of the students. Faced with challenges such as living away from home for the first time, being the first one in their families to attend college, having limited financial resources to meet basic needs and being overwhelmed by the demands of college or going back to school after a few years out of the educational system, almost half of the scholars were not successful in meeting their goals. These scholars needed support, encouragement, contact with people from their community beyond their own families and friends to be successful.
The Scholarship Board made tentative steps to address the unmet needs by assigning Board members to act as liaisons/mentors to the scholars. As the number of scholars increased - the CSP is currently funding 32 scholarships – the resources of the all-volunteer board became severely stretched. The Board seized on the opportunity to work with Leadership Charlottesville to look outside our own ranks for volunteers to create a vital and sustainable liaison/mentoring team.
Now renamed as “Navigators” rather than liaison/mentors, the Charlottesville Scholarship Program is excited to welcome volunteers who enjoy relating to older students, are willing to share their own college or work life experiences, encouraging students to keep going even when things get tough, remembering them on their birthdays with a card or note, sending a “care package” occasionally. As one scholar reported, “knowing that there were people in my community who were supporting me and cared about me made me get out of bed in the morning to attend classes.”
Guest post by: Charlottesville Scholarship Program
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