WAUKESHA, WIS.— A new AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer at Carroll University supports pre-college mentorship programs for disadvantaged students. This VISTA position is a renewal of Carroll’s 2012 Wisconsin Campus Compact grant, and is held by Joseph Alvarez, a 2013 graduate of Boston University.
Alvarez continues the work of Rachel Leih, a 2009 Carroll graduate and the previous mentorship coordinator for the Youth to Discover and CEO Carroll Connection programs. In 2012-2013, Leih focused on the expansion of mentorship programming within these programs, established in partnership with Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services and Milwaukee’s CEO Leadership Academy (now Milwaukee Collegiate Academy), respectively.
In determining goals for the new VISTA, both community partners indicated an overarching need for regular, ongoing mentorship to students. “Mentorship programs provide low-income and first-generation students with a support system to encourage college attendance and the chance to escape lives of poverty,” said Dr. Donnie Hale, director of pre-college programs at Carroll University.
As VISTA, Alvarez will expand and streamline Carroll’s mentorship program by creating standardized mentor training, placing emphasis on retention and continuous education of mentors. Hale said, “With Joe focused on the development of mentorship components of pre-college programs, Carroll is strengthening these programs and offering more comprehensive support to the students who most need our help.”
Alvarez is the fourth Americorps*VISTA to work at Carroll University. He was interested in the greater responsibility of a full-time position after working as a 2012 Summer VISTA Associate in Chicago, and was specifically interested in Carroll’s opening based on his personal experiences. “I benefited from mentoring programs and can relate to the youth in our programs,” he said. “Now my job is to help facilitate the mentor-mentee relationship.”
As part of this project, Alvarez will collaborate with individuals at Carroll and the community partners to develop an infrastructure that will allow for the success of the mentorship program after the VISTA grant funding ends.
For more information on Carroll’s pre-college programs, contact Hale at 262.650.4971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.