Statewide scholarship, mentoring program still needs mentors to hit 2021 goal

A statewide mentoring program must recruit 2,500 more mentors in less than a month.

TN Achieves is a nonprofit providing scholarships and mentor guidance for high school students each year.

Normally, the organization recruits in person at schools and community centers but because of the pandemic, they can’t do that this year and all recruitment is online.

The nonprofit is also using a virtual platform to connect with high school seniors as they transition to college.

TN Achieves Director of mentors, Tyler Ford said their mentors will be a vital part of that transition next year especially with many students returning to school virtually.

“You know they may not see their guidance counselor every day. They may not see their teachers every single day. You know they may not think about college every single day,” said Ford. “But having someone in their community who reaches out every other week or so to check in and keep those gears turning about what comes next after high school, we think that’s going to be critical in the coming year.”

Ford said they usually have 1,200 mentors for Shelby County alone which is twice as many as other counties.

But Ford said they haven’t that goal yet.

As of Friday, TN Achieves said they still need 526 members in Shelby County, followed by 55 in Tipton County and 28 in Fayette County.

Ford said mentors must volunteer one hour a month and server as a resource and support system for students.

“You know students may get down on themselves going through the college process. Many that we work with will be the first their family to go to college and they may feel overwhelmed at times. I mentor is someone who can encourage them and lift them over those obstacles,” he said.

But the clock is ticking with less than a month to recruit those vital mentors.

“If we aren’t able to make that goal, that means students may not have access to that local support system and it’s such a priority for us to make sure each student has someone in their community they can turn to,” said Ford.

Whether schools are back in the classroom or not, TN Achieves say all the mentors will connect with students virtually next year.

The deadline to apply is December 4 and you can find more information about the program, here.