If you have a child, grandchild, nephew or niece heading off to college for the first time, you can bet they’re a little anxious and nervous over what to expect.

Will they get along with their roommate? Will their professors be nice? Will the dining hall food be good? All good questions, but thanks to College Now, hundreds of kids will have a mentor to help get them through the challenges that college brings.

On Tuesday night, more than 500 mentors and their freshmen mentees will meet in person, most for the first time, at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland. It is also a chance for students to meet other students enrolled at the same school.

College Now’s mentoring program began back in 2011. Back in March, WKYC partnered with them and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to help recruit mentors. The need was great this year since Cleveland became the fourth Say Yes to Education chapter in the country. This program gives every student in the Cleveland school district who meets residency and enrollment requirements, a full-tuition scholarship at an Ohio four-year university, two-year college, a Pell-eligible trade/certificate program or one of over 100 private colleges across the country. Mentoring is a requirement for the scholarship.

According to College Now, research shows positive mentoring relationships can have a major impact on low income and first-generation college students. Most of the communication is done online and the mentor and mentee are asked to meet in person three times per year.

College Now CEO Lee Friedman said in a press release, “Expanding the program to now also include Say Yes to Education Cleveland scholarship recipients represents an entirely new chapter for Cleveland, and College Now is honored to play a part in that success. College Now is now able to serve more than double the number of students we traditionally connected to college funding and mentoring. We are extremely grateful to supporters of this program for helping us reach our incredible goal of recruiting over 1,000 new mentors for this class of scholarship recipients.”

WKYC supported College Now with a $10,000 check from the TEGNA Foundation to help with the Mentor-Mentee program. The TEGNA Foundation is the charitable arm of TEGNA, Inc., WKYC’s parent company, which distributes thousands in grant dollars every year to local nonprofits.

WKYC’s Russ Mitchell signed up to be a College Now mentor. You can learn more about his mentee, Mario Wilson, here.

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