College students try to better children’s lives by showing them consistency.
By Alan Torres
This college has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas in a program in which students serve as positive role models.
Once a month, sixth graders from Will Rogers Elementary School come to campus for an hour where they are paired with volunteer big brothers or sisters, Nicole France, senior coordinator for the office of outreach and recruitment, said in an interview Oct 12.
About 16 sixth-graders are in the program now, Caresa Medellin, coordinator for student success, said in an interview Oct. 23.
The children and their mentors participate in activities around campus, such as visiting Sinkin Eco Centro and Longwith Radio, Television and Film Building, where they get to learn about higher education and the opportunities available at this college.
They also spend quality time with their mentors and build relationships, France said.
“It is really important for us that students build good relationships,” she said. “It aligns with our mission here at the department and at SAC.”
The program has a lengthy process to qualify college students to become mentors.
“It is a lengthy process, and it should be,” she said. “With the applications and interviews, it can be difficult, but it’s important.”
The process for becoming a mentor requires an application along with a background check and a reference check.
Potential volunteers must also attend an orientation session and an interview, Medellin said.
“We want students to have their same little brother or sister the following year,” France said. “You have to have someone consistent for these kids. A lot of them come from troubled houses where they’re not shown a lot of consistency.”
The last visit was scheduled Nov. 4.
“Working with young students is extremely rewarding,” Medellin said. “Mentoring is a great opportunity for a college student to be that source of support for the younger students,” she said.
“College students might also relate to young students if they, too, needed support at some point of their life.”
Students can apply online at www.bigmentor.org.
Additional information can be found at the outreach and recruitment office in Room 214 of Fletcher Administration Center.