CLEVELAND — Mentor Monday was all about getting the word out that mentoring a young person is a great way give back and help someone else, knowing you had a hand in getting someone across the graduation stage. 

WKYC Studios had 25 people sign up on Mentor Monday itself, Jan. 27.

Requirements to be a mentor are simple. You need a four-year or two-year college degree and must be willing to stick with your student during their four years in college. College Now of Greater Cleveland provides training.

Since Cleveland became a “Say Yes to Education” chapter, eligible students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can get free tuition scholarships but as part of that scholarship, they need a mentor to help them navigate college. 

For the second year in a row, CEO Eric Gordon challenged his employees to sign up and so far, 36 people have answered that call. If you or your kids went to college, you know that the first semester away can be very challenging. That’s where a mentor, who’s walked that path, can help.

Once you sign up, College Now requires two emails per month and three face to face meetings with your mentor a year. They even provide those email prompts, which focus on general questions, a way to start a conversation. An example would be, “Have you met with any of your professors during their office hours?” 

College Now also provides the face to face get-togethers, which are also flexible. If you can’t make an event, you can also connect with your student through social media, Skype or just texting.

Mentor Shawanna Anekwe, a CMSD Model Lead Teacher and first year mentor, says communication with your mentee is key.

“You don't have to take a whole lot of time out of the person's schedule, just make sure you keep that connection going. If I can share my experience and be a voice for someone else or even have me to ask questions and have me look out for them and support them through the process, I think it's worth it," she said. 

Cleveland State freshman Thomas Aston says having a mentor “Reminds me I’m not the only one who’s gone through the struggles that I’m going through.”

Taylor Jones goes to Howard University in Washington D.C. She will graduate this spring and now considers her mentor, Margie Glick, not just a mentor, but a friend.

“I think that was the most critical thing that I've been able to gain from this relationship, is having someone that's been to the places that I want to be and that can kind of direct me there," Taylor said. 

The deadline to sign up to be a mentor is March 1. You can sign up at https://www.collegenowgc.org/.

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