by Jamie Schwarzenbach
Women’s Leadership Council Member
As trees begin to bud and the weather warms up, many of us are planning our summer vacations and waiting for the snow to melt. A few weeks ago, a group of Women’s Leadership Council members met to learn about some new volunteer activities that will kickoff this spring. With new opportunities to mentor at-risk kids, there are volunteer options that fit into everyone’s schedule.
The “Get Connected, Get Involved” networking and informational meeting opened with some heart-warming thank you letters from the students at Granite Park Junior High. Students expressed their gratitude for the college funding and financial literacy lessons that WLC volunteers have provided over the past several months. Most of the students don’t have any family members or friends that have been to college, so these presentations give students hope that a college degree is attainable for them. These presentations also give students the skills needed to navigate the process.
WLC members were excited to learn about the Mentor 2.0 program, which is a mentoring opportunity that will serve 75 10th-grade students at Cottonwood High School. These students are primarily refugees or first-generation college students that came to Cottonwood High from Granite Park Junior High. The Mentor 2.0 program is a partnership between United Way of Salt Lake and Big Brothers Big Sisters and will connect busy executive level mentors to students electronically. The school has found that students are more open in an email setting than they are face-to-face. Mentors will help students with their weekly topic though email, and then meet in person once a month to solidify what they have learned. This is a great opportunity for those who want to get involved with a mentoring program, but need a more flexible schedule and time commitment (approximately 3-4 hours per month).
During the meeting, we also learned about a short-term commitment with a big impact. We learned that over 87 percent of students at Cottonwood High have failed at least one core class needed for graduation. Volunteers can help get students back on track by helping them complete credit recovery packets, which are offered as a final chance for students to get the math, science, and other core credits they need to graduate. Many of the students in the at-risk group do not have family resources to help them with the packets, so the volunteers can help give them the confidence and encouragement they need to work through the assignments and complete them on time. The 9th Grade Credit and Recovery program starts soon and will be ongoing throughout the summer. There is a flexible schedule with a variety of one-hour time slots each week. The goal of this program is to get 100 percent of at-risk students on track to graduate, and there are over 175 students that could use your help! Just one hour of your time will help a student graduate from high school.
So, while you are scheduling camps and summer vacations, schedule some time to reach out to WLC and learn more about how you can help make a lasting difference for kids in our community.
For more information about the Women’s Leadership Council, or to sign up to volunteer please contact Zenia Frendt, Leadership Giving Director of the Women’s Leadership Council, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 736-7708.