On Monday March 6, WKYC Studios and College Now Greater Cleveland's month-long recruiting campaign called “Mentor Mondays,” kicked off. And throughout the month of March, WKYC’s newscasts will highlight College Now’s mentoring program and offer viewers the opportunity to sign up to become a mentor.
Recently, we aired a story on how a College Now mentor and members of the Black Professionals Association have surrounded one student with support she needs to not only thrive in college but also accomplish her dream of one day becoming a doctor.
“I want to be a doctor, an MD,” stated Zaynad Shaheed.
She was thrilled to be paired with her mentor, Lauren Brace, right out of high school. Shaheed has no immediate family who went to college. So, she is happy Brace is there to give her the answers.
“I didn't really know like how I should go about college. So, if I have someone there to talk to me and guide me through,” said Shaheed.
“Mentoring has always been a really huge interest of mine,” said Lauren Brace a Chief Engineer at Goodyear.
Brace enjoyed teaching piano in high school and has mentored people throughout her career at Goodyear. Helping Shaheed through similar courses at case she took as a student is rewarding.
“We meet on video calls biweekly and we talk about anything that she's got coming up, challenges she's facing in her classes,” said Brace.
The pair has also attended events hosted by college now and even a Guardians’ game, Shaheed’s first ever. Lauren is impressed on how driven her mentee is, offering sound advice about becoming a doctor.
“She said it's going to be hard regardless of where you're going, what you're coming from,” said Shaheed.
“Watching her come through it. And acknowledge that, yes, it's difficult. But again, you take it one day at a time,” said Brace. “And the fact that she will continue to grow from those challenges.”
Shaheed is thriving, thanks to a caring community, which includes The Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation who awarded her scholarship.
“Because it really takes all of us to help get students across that stage and takes all of us to help them be successful in their ambitions,” said Laurie Murphy, the Executive Director of the BPACF.
And Shaheed is also giving back, speaking on a panel created by the foundation, giving high school students advice on college and scholarship support.
“You can give and support each other. You don't have to wait till you graduate or have to wait till you're successful in your career. But it's about what you do every day,” said Murphy.
Soon Shaheed will shadow a doctor to get some real-world experience, an opportunity created by the BPACF. She is grateful for all the help she has received. And hopes the Mentor Monday campaign can help other high school graduates find support.
“It makes it a lot easier for you to get the help that you need when you have a mentor,” said Shaheed.
If you want to sign up to become a mentor, visit collegenowgc.org. The deadline to apply is April 1.