Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mentors show Pathway to Success

Congratulations to Pathway Partners! Selected as Volunteer Center's Adult Group Volunteer of the Year!

Entry By Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, Pathway Partners, Program Coordinator -- Partner Program

Pathway Partners, in its eight year at Marshfield High School, is the only school based mentoring program in Central Wisconsin. Students and mentors are matched according to similar interests, hobbies or career paths.

We have been very fortunate to have approximately 100 caring, responsible volunteers who have worked more than 1200 hours to help mentor 100 students. They have met with their students at least once a month helping in a variety of ways. They listen, give advice, they are an advocate for the student. A mentor’s goal is to see that the student is successful.

The best way for the student to decide if they really want to pursue a career is to see first hand what goes on at a business or workplace, and mentors can arrange job shadows to help student gain experience. Mentors also can help students apply to colleges or for scholarships by wading through the mountain of paperwork.

Mentors could ideally work with the same student for the student’s entire high school career. Rapport and trust develops and some partners form a friendship that lasts beyond the high school years. You can never have too many people in the student’s corner!

Pathway Partners encourages all of its students and mentors to volunteer. This year Pathway Partners volunteered to help Soup or Socks with the Annual Boy Scout Food Drive. The Boy Scouts collected non-perishable food from Marshfield residents. Pathway Partner students and mentors helped sort the food as it came in, checking for expiration dates/opened items and then dating it. Then we helped box and label donations so they may be distributed to residents in need.

Our statistics show being mentored by an adult is substantially helping students to make career plans. Of the 17 graduating seniors from the class of 2005 that participated in our program 88 percent are going to college or technical schools, as compared with 76.83 percent of their graduating class. Six percent were directly entering the work force, as compared to 17.7 percent of their graduating class.

We are surveying all past Pathway Partner graduates. Of the responding graduates, 100 percent say they would recommend this program to younger students. Many commented Pathway Partners not only helped them decide what career they wanted to pursue but helped them in many other ways. The program improved their ability to talk with adults, offered them another perspective other than their parents and gave them confidence in their career choice so that they were able to declare a major before entering college.

These success stories would not be possible without our wonderful mentors. If you would like to volunteer as a mentor please contact Amber Kiggens-Leifheit at 387-8464 ext. 384 or email