Support At-Risk Students by Becoming a Mentor
For a student at risk of falling off track, a mentor can make all of the difference. Based on studies released within the last three years, students who have a non-parental person in their lives that can guide them through life challenges, offer advice, and share experiences end up with a better attitude toward school and are less likely to engage in risky behavior. Locally, residents can become that impact on someone, by joining Columbus City School’s Success Mentor Initiative, a program connecting an adult mentor with a student mentee for one hour every week of the school year.
“Was I nervous about meeting my mentor? Yes, because at first I thought, you know, she was just gonna be another adult to just push me around and tell me what to do, like ‘Do it like this’ and ‘You need to study that,’ but that wasn’t what it was at all,” said Regina Core a mentee from East High School, in a promotional video for the program.
The program is put on by the Office of Student Mentoring Initiatives (OSMI), which was established in November 2015. Once committed, adult mentors meet weekly with their student, work to formulate high school and post-high school goals as well as steps to meeting them, and develop healthy problem-solving skills.
Mentors listen, advise and empower students to improve in each area of life: education, daily life, and career. At-risk students who have mentors are 52 percent less likely to skip school and 37 percent less likely to skip a class than those who don’t. Similarly, they’re 55 percent more likely to enroll in college.
Behavioral issues have been shown to improve as well, with mentored students being 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs and 27 percent less likely to start drinking. They have more interest in extracurricular activities, experience a reduction in depression symptoms, and invest more trust in their own parents or guardians.
As a professional with an established network, the mentor has the ability to share contacts with the student, connecting them to industry professionals, internships, and jobs.
“It’s so joyous to see a young person going down one path and knowing you were able to influence, change the trajectory of the path that they were on,” said Jason Youngblood, Linden High School mentor, in the video.
The Success Mentor Initiative is currently accepting mentor applications for both employees and non-employees of Columbus City Schools. Mentors can pick from 21 different high schools in central, north, east, south and west Columbus. To get involved or learn more, visit ccsoh.us/Mentorship.