(Salem, Ore.) – The Office of Student Access and Completion at Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating commission is encouraging community members statewide to sign up as ASPIRE volunteer mentors at OregonStudentAid.gov/ASPIRE to help students find pathways to success.
ASPIRE is the state’s mentoring program to help students access education and training beyond high school. The program matches trained and supportive adult volunteer mentors with middle and high school students, to help plan for their future career and education goals. ASPIRE volunteering opportunities are available at 157 schools or sites throughout the state, and no prior experience is needed. Training, tools and resources are provided.
“This is probably the most direct way to make a difference in a young person’s life,” said Adrienne Simmons, ASPIRE mentor at Ashland High School.
Students who participate in ASPIRE gain support in planning for their lives after high school, receive help in applying for training and college programs, and get assistance in applying for scholarships and financial aid. Students at ASPIRE sites are more likely to graduate on time, and enroll in colleges at higher rates. ASPIRE students are also more likely to receive financial aid through scholarships and grants.
The unique roles ASPIRE mentors play in the lives of students were reflected in exit surveys of recently mentored students.
“My mentor guided me through every step to college,” one student said. “Without her help, I would not be attending college.”
Another student said his mentor guided him “through the ins and outs of how to approach a new job.”
The ASPIRE program’s call for volunteers is part of National Mentoring Month, a campaign held each January that focuses attention on the need for mentors and how partners can work together to increase youth mentoring.
Oregonians with the time and willingness to become ASPIRE volunteer mentors in their communities can learn more, find an ASPIRE site in their area, or sign up at OregonStudentAid.gov/ASPIRE.