A local mentoring program is expanding to include college students.
Cincinnati Public Schools already works with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative to get help for students in high school. Soon, students who go off to college will be able to access guidance as well.
The College Mentoring Initiative started in Cleveland with a website to assist both mentors and mentorees.
Jane Keller with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative says that same platform will be used for graduates of Cincinnati Public Schools who are the first in their families to go to the University of Cincinnati.
“The research shows that mentored youth are statistically more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, have strong attendance, and more likely to have an overall positive attitude about the school and the work that they’re doing within that school,” she says.
UC President Santa Ono says the mentoring will help.
“Even more of them will be retained to the sophomore year," Ono says. "And even more of them will graduate. And even more of them will obtain a college degree and remain in Cincinnati, and have a positive impact on this city that we all love."
Ono says UC already has a mentoring effort for students who are the first in their families to attend college. He says the Gen One House is successful, but too limited, only helping a couple hundred students a year.
He says mentoring helps break the cycle of poverty.
“If you take a first generation student and you really support them on this campus, they can be retained and they can graduate at even higher rates than the more privileged students,” Ono says.
That, Ono says, impacts not only the students but also their families and the community as a whole.
The initiative is a cooperative effort between CPS, UC, the CYC, The Business of Good Foundation, the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, and Accenture.
The dean of UC-Blue Ash, Cady Short-Thompson, says the help is needed for many.
“National trends show us that a students’ freshman year is the crucial indicator of their college success," Short-Thompson says. "And what we know is students who return for their sophomore year are far more likely to succeed and graduate, and that is all of our goal."
The initiative will start recruiting 40 mentors this spring, and match them with students over the summer in time for the fall semester at UC. The goal is to have 600 pairs within five years from other school districts and other colleges.