The Free Minds Mentorship Program offers a year of transitional support to program alumni, fostering meaningful one-to-one relationships between Free Minds graduates and mentors from the academic, business, and cultural communities.
We are now accepting applications for volunteer mentors. If you are interested in serving as a mentor for a 2014 program graduate, you can complete the online application here. To ask questions or request more information, submit the Join Our Community form.
Who are Free Minds mentors?
Good mentors come in many forms. If you have valuable professional, educational, non-profit, or artistic experience that you can share with a Free Minds graduate, and you meet the below requirements, we hope you will consider applying to be a Free Minds mentor.
We ask that all of those who apply meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 25 years old
- Have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Over the course of one year, commit to meeting twice each month with your Free Minds mentee
- Have an interest in helping others to achieve their academic, career, or personal goals
- Attend a mentor training and separate orientation event
The Need for Mentorship
Over two semesters in the Free Minds class, our students develop crucial skills in critical thinking, writing, and verbal communication. The majority of our graduates report feeling more self-confident and prepared to take on other college classrooms as a result of their participation in Free Minds. 2012 graduate Stacey Kennedy put it this way: “I entered Free Minds with much fear and trepidation, hoping that they would prepare me for re-entry into college. I leave Free Minds with all that I need to succeed.“
And yet, as the program comes to an end, our students wonder how they can use what they’ve gained in the program to improve their futures. Students have become accustomed to being part of a supportive academic community, and they now face the challenge of staying focused on their educational and career aspirations without the encouragement and structure that the class has provided.
The aim of the Free Minds mentorship program is to build on the momentum of the class experience. Through mentorship, the program will continue to support graduates as they refine and pursue their academic, career, and artistic goals.
Benefits and Goals
1.) Providing graduates with role models – Adults who have faced barriers to education may not have educational role models. Creating one-to-one relationships with someone whose example they can follow is a powerful motivating force for adults as they strive to complete a degree or move forward in their careers.
2.) Offering consistent, ongoing relationships – Continued support is key for college retention and overall success. Having a sounding board, encourager, and accountability partner can help bridge gaps for students who may otherwise become discouraged by setbacks.
3. Providing connection to community resources – Often students who may not have exposure to certain academic or professional environments need help finding the right resources to support them toward their goals. Mentors can assist students in locating and accessing resources like financial aid and child care opportunities, resume and career building trainings, etc.