As national Thank Your Mentor Day approaches, on Jan. 31, local college students Joshua Hill and Joseph Walsh have not been shy about proclaiming their gratitude.

In a commercial airing on WKYC, Hill and Walsh share their heartfelt thanks to the two Cleveland-area men they’ve been matched with through College Now of Greater Cleveland’s mentoring program.

“I’m a first-generation college student. I don’t have the advice or the influence that some others may have had in their life,” says Walsh in his tribute to his mentor, Cleveland Police  Capt. Keith Sulzer. “He’s definitely made a big impact on my life. “

“I’m not sure that I’d still be a college student if it weren’t for my mentor,” adds Hill in thanking his College Now volunteer, Dr. Stephen Kaufman.

Mentors have been in the spotlight at WKYC throughout January, which is National Mentoring Month.

And lately there’s a new and pressing need for volunteer mentors, in light of the recent announcement that Cleveland will become the latest city to partner with Say Yes to Education and offer scholarships to college-bound Cleveland students.

College Now, which will administer the Say Yes Cleveland scholarships, is seeking 900 local mentors to get involved and help steer these students to success.

College Now’s unique mentoring program does not require a major time commitment between mentor and mentee. Through an online platform, volunteer mentors send monthly emails and provide advice to college students, most of whom are first in their families to attend college. Volunteers must be college graduates and make a four-year commitment.

Having a mentor’s support has helped College Now students stay in school and navigate their way to graduation, according to Mentoring Program Director Madeline Rife. On average, 92% of mentored students returned to college for their sophomore year, and 72% of students in their pilot class graduated on-time with their degrees, she said.

Ready to answer the call to be a College Now mentor? Apply here by April 1.