Newport High School is seeking volunteer community mentors to assist students with
navigating the many possibilities for education and careers beyond high school. ASPIRE mentors guide students to explore vocational and college options as well as potential career paths. Volunteers may also assist students with admission applications, applying for scholarships and financial aid. With 23 students currently enrolled in ASPIRE, there are nearly 40 more on a waiting list to get into the program.
“Ideally, we need at least 10 more mentors,” Melinda Dye, NHS College and Career Coordinator said. “If people can find 3-4 hours a month, we can find a place for them to help.”
Mentoring students fosters their interest in education and training beyond high school, improves classroom attendance, increases academic performance and gives students direction for their future. Some mentors simply provide encouragement to stay on track to graduate. “For some students, it’s knowing that someone cares — another adult in their life that’s not their parent or guardian — to develop plans to make their
dreams come true,” said Dye.
Monthly ASPIRE mentor meetings provide volunteers with current training and information to better help students. Mentors meet during school hours at school with a student generally for about an hour at lunchtime. It is a supportive environment for both students and mentors.
No experience is necessary and mentors do not need college degrees or previous work in the education field. “Mentors just need to be willing to meet with students and encourage them,” Dye said. “We help with the rest.” People from all walks of life and professional backgrounds can bring their own unique experiences to the program and are encouraged to sign up.
Dye has been with the ASPIRE program for nearly 20 years and has witnessed many success stories. From students who move on to higher education, to those who have careers in the military and the trades, the ASPIRE program makes a huge difference in the lives of young people. “There is no downside to the program,” Dye said, adding that 52 seniors have received over $900,000 in scholarships over the past four years because of this program.
A brief background check for security purposes and a short on-line training program are all it takes to get started. To learn more about ASPIRE and volunteer opportunities, contact Melinda Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org, (541) 265-9281, ext. 312.