We're in the thick of back-to-school season.
A lot of students, starting to think about what kind of career path they want to take, but some are also at risk of dropping out of school, as they transition from middle school to high school.
One local program, called True2U, is looking to help on both fronts.
DeShawn George is a 9th grader at New Tech East, a high school that focuses on technical and engineering skills in the Cleveland Schools. However, this time last year, he was at a bit of a crossroads.
“It's pressure on you when you're in high school. It's way different than middle school,” George said.
He knew he wanted to focus on something involving engineering, but didn't know quite what. That's where the True2U program comes in. It’s a mentoring program in the Cleveland Schools, sponsored by several nonprofits and community organizations. It allows 8th graders the opportunity to figure out what their strengths and interests are, while exposing them to different careers.
“The mentors help the students link those two things together. So if they have interests in one area and strengths in an area, what are careers that might line up with that,” explained Molly Feghali, MyCom Project Manager at True2U.
“Our mentors [asking] us like you know -- what do you want to do? What's your dream? And that's when people really started opening up and saying what they want to do and what they want to find out,” George said.
And the program works.
Students are far more engaged in picking their schools and programs when they're part of True2U, making them more invested in their futures.
However, this program doesn't work, without great mentors. Folks from the worlds of business, faith, and everywhere in between.
The qualifications, are simple.
“We look for someone who's interested in working with young people and making an impact in the community,” Feghali said.
And the reward is immeasurable.
“These are our future leaders, so this is a great way for the community to show its support to young people.”
The program is helping those young people, make their dreams come true.
DeShawn dreams of one day becoming an architect.
“My dream is to design a building for people who [are] incarcerated. Who come out of incarceration, they can go home and stay -- for kids and stuff and families.”
To learn more about becoming a True2U mentor, click here.
You can find more stories and resources like these in our Possible U series in our special Possible section at wkyc.com/PossibleU.