Waukegan to College seeks volunteer mentors for students
Would you like to help a Waukegan high school student create a path to a college education?
Do you have personal skills and knowledge that can help realize that student's potential and shape that student's educational journey?
Do you have the commitment to support that student to beat the odds and break barriers to success?
Then, Waukegan to College needs your help as a volunteer mentor. Waukegan to College provides training and ongoing support for its team of volunteer mentors. Individuals interested in volunteering can contact the organization at www.waukegantocollege/joinus.org, by emailing email@example.com or calling (224) 628-3067.
More than 85 volunteers already work with Waukegan to College as student mentors, but many more are needed. The organization has grown rapidly since its start 13 years ago, from serving 25 Waukegan students at its inception to serving more than 200 students in 2022.
Currently, there is a waiting list of 35 high school students in need of an immediate mentor match. More will be needed every new school year, as the organization is launching its 1,000 Dreams initiative, a push to assist 1,000 students by 2029 reach toward higher education.
Mentors and mentees are paired based on shared interests and skills.
"A mentor is a loyal advisor, a teacher or coach, guide, confidant and role model," said Laura Rios, Waukegan to College program director. "They are a concerned individual who is an advocate for the needs of the mentee, and who helps bring out their best qualities. Mentors make an impact on a young person's life and develop a lifelong friendship.
"Mentors should be familiar with the college readiness and access process," Rios said. "We work with first generation students, and they don't usually have anyone in their family to guide them through the process. A mentor who has gone to college or helped their children go to college will be able to help our students through the process."
Joan Boughton of Lake Forest has been a volunteer mentor for several years following a long career at Aon. Her current mentee is high school student Lily Botero, now a sophomore at Lake Forest Academy on a full-ride scholarship.
Boughton describes how the relationship between mentor and mentee can work effectively.
"The mentor can advocate for the student while offering a mature, adult perspective that doesn't carry the emotional load that might come from even the most well-meaning family member," she said.
"I love being able to have a direct impact, even if it is focused on one person," Boughton said. "I love what I have learned from my mentee. I love that her whole family is involved and committed."
"My time with my mentor Joan has been extremely helpful, knowing I have an amazing support system by my side" said Lily. "I didn't expect the mentor matchup to go so smoothly, but I am incredibly glad it did! Having such a great time with her and look forward to many more years of companionship!"
Waukegan to College is a growing nonprofit organization that helps local students prepare for, enroll in and graduate from colleges and universities across the country. Local schools have limited resources to assist Waukegan students with the challenging and nuanced path to college.
Waukegan to College works to partner with both local families and the local school district while supporting each student's individual and family needs.
To date, 78 Waukegan to College students have earned degrees from a variety of schools, including Lake Forest College, Northwestern University, Knox College, and many more institutions of higher learning across the country.
For more information about volunteering, contact Pricilla Uriostegui at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (224) 628-3067.
• To submit Your news, go to dailyherald.com/share.