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This year’s expanded 'Mentor Monday' campaign was a big success thanks to you, our viewers

More than 275 people signed up to mentor college-bound students during the month-long recruitment effort, a partnership between WKYC Studios, College Now and Say Yes

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published in a previous Mentor Monday story on March 28, 2022.

WKYC Studios retooled our Mentor Monday campaign this year. Expanding it from one day to a month-long initiative, we took a leap of faith and set a big new goal.

RELATED: Mentor Monday: How did the pandemic affect mentorship?

Instead of hosting a one-day recruitment blitz with an aim of bringing in 100 mentors, this year our station announced we’d be seeking 275 volunteers to mentor college-bound students receiving scholarships from College Now of Greater Cleveland and Say Yes Cleveland.

And 3News viewers, you rose to the challenge.

RELATED: Mentor Mondays: First Say Yes students graduate from college

We’re proud to announce that we surpassed our goal of 275 volunteer mentors -- by one! During the month of March, 276 people stepped forth to apply for the College Now mentoring program.

This is exciting news for the initiative, a partnership between WKYC Studios, College Now and Say Yes Cleveland now in its fourth year. The volunteer mentors will be paired with local high school seniors who are receiving scholarships from College Now and/or Say Yes Cleveland, and help guide them during their college experiences.

To raise awareness of the campaign, we aired stories every Monday in March about the value of mentoring and the impact that the College Now mentoring program is having.

The McDonald Hopkins Cleveland office provided valuable sponsorship support. “This is McDonald Hopkins’ fourth year supporting this campaign. They’ve been in it from the very beginning and have been committed at the company’s top levels,” said Madeline Rife, senior director of College Now’s mentoring program.

Many organizations contributed to the campaign’s success including the Young Latino Network, which promoted the campaign on social media and presented a virtual recruitment event all in an effort to recruit more Hispanic mentors.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Say Yes Cleveland also were involved in recruiting volunteers, which is especially fitting considering that the Mentor Monday campaign provides a pipeline of support for their students. 

“We really appreciate being able to count on them,” Rife said.

WKYC Studios launched the Mentor Monday campaign in 2019 immediately following the announcement that hundreds of Cleveland high school students would be receiving college scholarships through the newly created Say Yes Cleveland program. What’s the reasoning behind the initiative? Having a mentor has been proven to help college students succeed: Seventy percent of local students who have a College Now mentor graduate within six years, while the national average for their peer group of Pell-grant-eligible students is only 42 percent.

Although the Mentor Monday campaign is over and has reached its goal for this year, mentors are always needed. You can sign up at this link here to be considered for a match in summer 2023.

The requirements to become a College Now mentor are simple:

  • Commit to working with a student through the course of college by exchanging messages twice per month and meeting at least three times a year.
  • Hold a college degree
  • Fill out an application
  • Complete a 20-minute phone interview
  • Attend a 90-minute orientation
  • Pass a background check

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