Local mentors sought for program
by Special to the Banner
Oct 27, 2013 | 1197 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Allan Jones
Allan Jones
In 2011, Check Into Cash founder and CEO Allan Jones made a landmark commitment to education with a donation that assured any graduating public high school senior in Bradley County could attend Cleveland State Community College.

Adult mentors are now needed to help guide the students through the scholarship process.

The scholarship program — called “The Allan Jones College of Knowledge” — is a partnership with bradleyAchieves and tnAchieves.

The organization and the Jones Foundation are currently reaching out to local adults who can serve as mentors to the students.

Krissy DeAlejandro, executive director of tnAchieves, said mentorship opportunities are still open at the county’s three local high schools with the deadline approaching on Nov. 15.

“We have had a great response from students who want to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” DeAlejandro said. “However, we still need about 60 mentors who can help ensure the students meet their deadlines and are successful in accomplishing their goals.”

DeAlejandro estimates that mentors will spend an average time commitment of 15 hours annually.

The Jones Foundation donation provides money for college and mentoring for eligible students at all three local high schools — Cleveland, Bradley and Walker Valley.

The tnAchieves program pairs students with a local mentor to help them through the first two years of college.

Jones said his foundation was initially excited about the program because it gives people who care about education a chance to make a difference through mentorship.

“I take pride in the fact that the Cleveland High School and Bradley Central High School wrestling programs are consistently ranked No. 1 and 2 in Tennessee, and my College of Knowledge donation to bradleyAchieves will help local education reach the same heights if we can get some dedicated mentors,” Jones said. “The mentoring aspect is what sets bradleyAchieves apart from other scholarship programs.”

Those who sign up as mentors will attend training sessions. These will last approximately one hour and cover all information needed to be an effective mentor. An actual meeting with the students will take place later this year at the students’ high schools. The first meeting familiarizes the families with tnAchieves and its requirements.

Mentors also check in with students on a monthly basis. This may require a one-on-one session with the students, but can be as simple as a reminder text message of upcoming events and/or deadlines.

DeAlejandro said, “We ask mentors to encourage your students in the weeks leading up to their first day of college. This is an intimidating time for the students, and often for their families as well. Mentors help lessen the uncertainty of college by offering guidance as well as directing students to the appropriate person to answer their questions or concerns.”

Area residents may sign up as mentors prior to the Nov. 15 deadline by visiting www.tnachieves.org and clicking on “I Want to Become a Mentor.”

Call 423-473-4227 for more information.