Sevier County Economic Development is working with tnAchieves to identify people in Sevier County with a passion for education that are willing to spend a small amount of time to make a life-changing difference in the student’s future. tnAchieves is a privately funded, nonprofit organization pairing last dollar scholarships with mentor guidance to help high school students access community college. The program began as an economic development initiative helping to ensure an educated workforce by increasing educational opportunities for Tennessee students. But it is the volunteer mentors that make the difference.
“Our mission is to give students who would not ordinarily have the opportunity a chance to go to college by lifting the burden of cost,” said tnAchieves Executive Director Krissy DeAlejandro. “Our volunteer mentors make a huge difference in helping these students successfully navigate the college access process.”
tnAchieves mentors commit as little as an hour a month, 10-15 hours a year, to encourage and direct students toward the goal of college entrance. Each mentor is assigned 4-5 students from one of the local high schools. Two meetings a year are scheduled at the school, one in January and one in March, for mentors and students to get to know each other and the program requirements.
Mentors are then asked to help keep their students on task throughout the application and entrance process, reminding them of upcoming deadlines and responsibilities via text messaging, Facebook, phone – whatever method is easiest for the student. tnAchieves strives to reach those who would not otherwise have this opportunity, with 65 percent of recipients being first-generation college students. Based on last year’s results, we anticipate that approximately 300 students will apply for the scholarship this year. To give the students the encouragement they need, we will need a minimum of 75 mentors for Sevier County. We have a good start but there are still openings at each of the high schools. tnAchieves hopes to fill these vacancies with volunteers by October 15th in order to pair all the student applicants. For more information on the mentoring program, contact Janice Bettis in the Sevier County Economic Development Office at 865-428-2212. You can also visit the tnAchieves website for additional infomration http://www.tnachieves.org.
100 E. Main St., BB&T Bldg., P. O. Box 4066, Sevierville, Tennessee 37864-4066
FAX (865) 453-2312