College Mentors for Kids Awarded Grant from Ohio Community ConnectorsApril 05, 2016 | Columbus, OH
Each week, after school is let out, over 200 elementary school kids descend upon Ohio State University’s campus for mentoring and activities through College Mentors for Kids. This school year, for the first time, fifth graders are a part of this transformative program thanks to a grant made by the state of Ohio’s Community Connectors program.
College Mentors for Kids was one of eighty-two community partners who was awarded a grant in July 2015 to help fulfill the Community Connectors’ mission of providing access to positive role models for Ohio’s students. College Mentors for Kids has been serving the Columbus-area through its Ohio State University chapter since 2009, working with kids in first through fourth grade from four local elementary schools. The Community Connectors grant has allowed for the expansion of the program to over 30 fifth grade students.
Ohio State chapter president, Doug Herrett, explains the impact extending the program has. “Being able to serve fifth graders this year has allowed us to be a part of their lives for one more year, as they continue to grow and develop their views of themselves, their communities, and the world. If we are able to reach the kids for even one more week, the possibility of them taking what they learn at College Mentors for Kids and applying it to their adult lives only continues to increase.”
At College Mentors for Kids, each kid is matched with a college student mentor who engages them in conversations about school and the future; encourages them to pursue their goals; and reminds them they have potential. Activities focus in on higher education and careers, culture and diversity, and community service. Kids get to hear from guest speakers like professors, student groups, and local business leaders. They lead the kids in a hands-on activity and, at the end the day, kids journal about what they learned.
After only a semester of mentoring fifth graders, the impact can already be seen. One fifth grader said, “College Mentors is a place where I can come and learn about how we can help our community. Also, it teaches me different careers that I can have. College Mentors teaches me a lot of things, and I’m happy to be in this program because I can learn so much stuff from them.”
The mentor program highlights how the community can benefit when different organizations come together. Kate Harkin, Director of Ohio State’s P-12 Initiative, shared, “OSU has a proud tradition of service to the next generation of Buckeyes in school districts across the state and our partnership with College Mentors reflects that tradition. The relationships developed between an OSU student and an elementary school child will make memories that will last a lifetime. Our youngest Buckeyes develop and articulate new dreams and aspirations for their future because of their participation in The Ohio State chapter of College Mentors for Kids.”
College Mentors for Kids is also using Community Connectors grant funds to expand the impact of its mentoring program in Cincinnati and Dayton.