By AMANDA BANKS,
Director of Public Relations, Grace College
WINONA LAKE — Serving kids in Kosciusko County since 2007, the College Mentors of Kids program is a 100 percent student-led, innovative organization that pairs first-through fifth-graders with college students. Grace College students serve as mentors to 40 children at Jefferson Elementary.
Rachel Brown, a freshman at Grace College, is one of the mentors. “A lot of the kids I work with don’t have strong role models in their lives. I’m passionate about showing them the possibilities they could create for themselves,” says Brown.
The College Mentors of Kids program partners with high-needs elementary and middle schools to reach children who need mentor services most. The program’s focus is on children from poverty or low-income homes of which 88% are potential first-generation college students. The three main goals of the program are to equip young people with the skills they need to be successful in life, help children understand the importance of education and motivate them to try harder in school, and to engage college students in meaningful leadership and service.
Forty students from Jefferson Elementary visit Grace College weekly to participate in structured group activities with their mentors. Activities are centered on higher education, careers, culture and diversity, and community service, all to encourage exploration of the college experience and expose the young people to potential opportunities for success in their future.
Grace College is responsible for raising much of the money necessary to operate the program. Online donations are appreciated to help support changing the lives of children and college students. To learn more about College Mentors of Kids at Grace College and to donate go here.