Columbia University isn’t just for college students anymore. Starting this fall, twenty seven 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders from Our Lady Queen of Angels (OLQA) have been visiting the campus each week as part of the College Mentors for Kids program.
The Indiana-based national non-profit, College Mentors for Kids, pairs undergraduates with elementary school students to show the importance of education, the benefits to cultural understanding, and ways to give back to their community. With a 20 year track record, 26 college chapters across the country and an eye to expanding into New York, the organization looked no further than our very own College Mentor alum, Erin Scott who participated in the program while attending the University of Notre Dame.
With one call to Erin, one meeting at the Partnership and one call to OLQA Principal Joanne Walsh, the program was launched.
Columbia students are buddied in a one-to-one match with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders from OLQA. Students meet their mentors once a week on Columbia’s campus, where they explore research labs, lecture rooms, libraries, dining halls, and other facilities. Each session is well planned, with insightful and educational activities that students share with their mentors.
OLQA students have already taken to the program becoming fast friends with their college buddies. “I love my mentor Johnathan,” says Fandio K., in 1st grade. “He’s studying biology and I’m learning a lot.”
The Columbia chapter of College Mentors for Kids will continue its partnership with OLQA for years to come, adding a new class each year as the first cohort of students moves up. We look forward to watching the program flourish at OLQA and perhaps expanding to other Partnership schools as the program gains momentum! To learn more about College Mentors for Kids, visit their website at www.collegementors.org.