I had the pleasure of interviewing the Ohio State College Mentors for Kids, an organization whose vision is to help school students look forward sooner and be able to give back later.
For readers who are not familiar with this group, College Mentors for Kids was started in 1995 in Bloomington, IN. The Ohio State University chapter began in 2009, serving over 500 local elementary-aged students since then. Every week College Mentors for Kids hosts 1st through 5th grade students on campus or around the greater Columbus area for one-on-one mentoring with an OSU student. Activities are group-focused with time allotted for mentor/mentee pairs to form and strengthen their own unique, personal relationship. Currently, the Ohio State chapter logs over 400 hours each week in service with 200 kids from four elementary schools.
Intrigued by the focus of the organization, it seems imperative to understand how the group attracts talent that is truly devoted to its mission. The non-profit has a competitive application process before duly qualified students receive admission as mentors. After submitting a written application outlining their interest in the organization, outstanding student candidates are offered the opportunity to interview. The final decision is a product of both the application and interview.
College Mentors for Kids hosts weekly activities focused on a variety of different themes including higher education, career paths, community service, culture and diversity. More specifically, as Columbus is a community full of diverse backgrounds, the Ohio State chapter highlights these differences through cultural emersion experiences.
However, this programming isn’t an isolated activity. College Mentors for Kids collaborates with other student organizations on campus and establishes local community partnerships. Some of their partnerships include Ohio History Connection, Columbus Zoo, Local Matters and Lowes. Through these partnerships, College Mentors for Kids can diversify their programming to meet the needs and interests of the students while expanding their experiences.
The organization’s executive board is continuously reaching out to local groups to maximize their partnerships and to offset costs. For College Mentors for Kids to make their impact, they need access to the kids who, in turn, need access to transportation. It currently costs approximately $20,000 to bus kids to and from campus each school year. The boards’ work “is never over” and as such they are very thankful for the Campus Causes platform, developed by Newbridge Marketing Group, which provides a free, turnkey opportunity to sustain their programming while allowing for further funding flexibility.
If you are inspired by the incredible work of College Mentors for Kids, please consider supporting them via this link. On their Campus Causes page you can donate directly to their campaign or shop over 100 merchant partners who will donate a percentage of your total purchase to the cause.