Starting Friday, Tennessee Achieves began recruiting 9,000 volunteer mentors to meet its goal of providing every Tennessee Promise applicant from the class of 2019 with a local support system.
Tennessee Promise, also referred to as TN Promise, affords every graduating high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition free. Nearly 63,000 students from the class of 2018 applied for the scholarship, which has a universal accept policy. Program administrators are expecting even more applicants from the class of 2019.
Most of the applicants will be the first in their family to go to college. Understanding that many obstacles can exist for first-generation college students, each applicant is assigned a volunteer mentor who assists the student in eliminating the barriers associated with post-secondary access and success. Tennessee Achieves, also known as tnAchieves, mentors support students as they navigate the college-going process and provide the nudges many need to earn a college credential.
“Tennessee Promise provides opportunity for students across Tennessee,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, executive director of Tennessee Achieves. “Every student should have the opportunity to reach his/her potential by earning a college credential. Mentors are helping create a culture change in our state, shifting the students’ mind-set from ‘if college is an option’ to ‘where I plan to graduate college.’”
The time commitment is small, since Tennessee Achieves asks mentors to give one hour per month, but the impact can be life changing for students. The organization provides a one hour training session, a handbook and weekly communication to ensure the mentor is fully equipped to serve his/her students. To learn more, or to apply to become a mentor, go online to https://tnachieves.org/mentors/apply/.
“Mentors are the real difference maker for Tennessee Promise students” said Graham Thomas, deputy director of engagement and partnerships for Tennessee Achieves. “Eliminating the financial barrier is certainly a critical piece of the formula, but without a support system many of the students feel overwhelmed by the entire process. It is amazing how far a few reminders and a little encouragement can go!”
Launched in 2008, Tennessee Achieves is a privately funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post-secondary degree. It operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in support of the Tennessee Promise initiative in 84 counties across the state.
For information on tnAchieves, contact Graham Thomas at (615) 604-1306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.