WAUKESHA, WIS.— A grant from Wisconsin Campus Compact will fund an Americorps*VISTA position at Carroll University in support of the institution’s pre-college mentorship programs for disadvantaged students. The VISTA, effective July 2012 through June 2013, is Rachel Leih, a 2009 Carroll graduate.
Carroll University has developed several successful pre-college programs for underrepresented students, and during the course of these programs, it has become clear that many students require support beyond basic academic preparation. Carroll now offers mentorship programs to provide students with positive role models who help hold students accountable for completing the programs in which they are enrolled, increasing their post-high school opportunities.
Leih, who recently earned a master’s degree in college student personnel administration from Marquette University, has a passion for student access. “Some populations are not afforded the tools and resources to get to college. I want to provide support to overcome those barriers,” she said.
The Wisconsin Campus Compact grant will support the Youth to Discover Program (Y2D), a partnership established with the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2007, and the new CEO Carroll Connection (C3) partnership with CEO Leadership Academy, a charter high school in Milwaukee that prepares students to make it to and through college.
Theresa Cook, Juvenile Service Supervisor at Waukesha HHS, said, “The Y2D Program provides a source of encouragement for at-risk youth in our community through a unique mentorship opportunity that can impact the course of their life in a positive way.” Participants meet weekly during the academic year to engage in free or inexpensive activities in the community. In addition to assisting the program directors with training, activity planning and overall implementation, “The VISTA will work specifically to foster and enrich the mentor-mentee relationships to find meaningful experiences for both,” Cook said.
Founded in fall 2011, C3 connects students from CEO Leadership Academy to Carroll students through intentional academic, engagement and enrichment programs that promote higher education learning and access. The partnership entails three programs: Saturday Academy, Junior/Senior Program and the Freshmen/Sophomore Summer Institute. Mentors and mentees interact during and independent of these events.
“Spending time at Carroll and actually ‘living’ the college environment is extremely valuable to our students,” said Dr. Howard Fuller, Chair of the Board for the CEO Leadership Academy. “I am very grateful to President Hastad, and the staff and student mentors who work so hard to make this program a success.”
As VISTA, Leih will expand recruitment of Carroll students and develop a formal mentor training program for both programs. She also will create formal college access programming for Y2D participants. In support of the C3 program, she will serve as a liaison between the schools, spending one day per week onsite at CEO Leadership Academy. Leih also will collaborate with Carroll and other community partners to explore opportunities for additional mentorship programs.
Leih is the third Americorps*VISTA to work at Carroll University. The first, Tony Boehm, organized and expanded student volunteerism during the 2009-2010 academic year. He was succeeded by alumna Katy Launius ’10, who served from 2010-2012, and is now employed as the assistant director of student activities at Carroll.
For more information on Carroll’s pre-college programs, contact Leih at firstname.lastname@example.org.