FIU expands mentoring programs

Mackenzie Bartels/Contributing

This fall, beginning the week of Sept. 23, 2013, FIU is launching a mentoring program that will pair students from Miami Northwestern High School with FIU faculty and staff.

There will be two programs: Fostering Panther Pride, which is intended for students who are or have been homeless or in the foster care system, and Golden Scholars Bridge Program, which intends to help provisionally admitted students transition into college life.

While these two programs are new engagements, this will be the University’s second year participating in the Communities In Schools (CIS) program.

Last year, the CIS program was only located at the Modesto Maidique campus. This year, FIU is extending the program to the Biscayne Bay campus as well. CIS will provide transportation for the students to both campuses.

The Office of Human Resources is collaborating with the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Office of Enrollment Services and the Office of Engagement to make sure that the students get even more out of the program its second year running.

El pagnier K. Hudson, the assistant vice president of FIU human resources and former Miami Northwestern graduate, said that CIS contacted FIU.

“We want to provide a platform, a place where they can go to get information, to get direction,” said Hudson. “Someone to share with, or ask questions of, or somebody to challenge you. Sometimes you just need somebody to push you a little bit more.”

Heidy Louisy, the assistant director of human resources at BBC, said that one of the most important things about the program is to retain incoming freshmen students.

“We tend to see if there isn’t that guidance, or someone that’s really there for them, it might take them a lot longer to get through the process,” said Louisy.

At the University of Miami, Hudson said that having a resource for everything from her studies to simply navigating around the campus changed her experience.

“You have a go-to person and you feel a sense of connectedness,” said Hudson.

CIS will provide as many students as there are available mentors. Between the two campuses, there are currently 39 mentors, but applications remain open with no deadline.

Becoming a mentor requires that each applicant passes a Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check and complete Miami-Dade County Public Schools fingerprinting. Mentors will also attend a Sept. 20 workshop to launch the programs.

The workshop will include a panel of mentees that participated last year and a group coming in to speak from Florida State University.

“I think that we, as a university, got a greater benefit from the program than maybe even CIS intended,” said Hudson.

According to Hudson, 85 to 90 percent of the students mentored last year are now attending college.

Hudson said that she personally feels that mentoring is a great segway into the next level of education.

“I think one of the things as professionals we always focus on is continuous improvement,” said Louisy, “we are always looking for a way to enhance the services that we provide.”

MMC will launch the program on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and BBC will start on Wednesday, Sept. 25.


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