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FIRM MENTOR

FUTURE INSTITUTE ROAD-TO-SUCCESS MENTORSHIP

The Future Institute Road to Success Mentorship (FIRM) pairs successful professionals and community leaders with Concept high school graduates who are eager to learn and grow as they navigate college life and select a career path. FIRM mentees gain valuable real-world experience and insight they can’t get in a classroom and might not get at home.

FIRM is an annual mentoring program designed to be flexible and easy to manage that only requires the following throughout the school year:

– One-on-one meetings with paired mentor depending on your schedules

– Character or career development reading assigned by mentor

– Complete a 1-hour minimum service project with mentor

– Minimum of 8 hours of job shadowing provided or facilitated by mentor

– Finish and take the lead role in a small career-related project and present it on an agreed-upon date

FIRM mentors are volunteers who play a pivotal role in a college student’s life by committing to one to four years of professional and personal mentorship over the mentee’s college career. Mentors will be paired based on the mentee’s college major or career pursuits, which could be professions such as:

– Medical doctors

– Real estate developers

– Elementary school teachers

– Engineers

Even if you haven’t declared a major, your mentor can assist with career advice and other college life recommendations.

    1. Personal Development: Mentors coach mentees through their college transition, career planning, and life challenges through one-on-one meetings, assigned reading, and community service projects.

    2. Job Shadowing: Mentees receive first-hand insight into a career field of their interest.

    3. Project Completion: Mentors assign a meaningful and professional-level project for the mentee to complete and present in front of an audience.

 

The goal of FIRM is to increase college persistence among our students by at least 10 percent.
Students participating in FIRM are:
– 87% economically disadvantaged
– 75% are the first in their family to attend college
– More than 95% are accepted into college with about 20% obtaining associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in 4-8 years


As a mentor, you will play a significant role in guiding college students through their college experience and into their careers. Ideally, a mentor’s commitment should be ongoing until the mentee graduates because we believe mentorship is the key to college persistence.
First generation college students who have a mentor are 10-15% more likely to advance to another year of college. Studies show that first generation college students (41% of black students and 61% of Hispanic students) are twice as likely to drop out before their sophomore year.
The chart below illustrates a report from the University of Pennsylvania and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education (2013).

As a mentor, you will be:
– Assisting in resume building with expert advice
– Providing valuable workplace experience
– Helping mentee stay committed to college through personal life coaching
– Giving mentee networking opportunities and professional connections
– Writing a letter of recommendation
– Aiding your mentee in earning a $1,000 scholarship each year of FIRM participation (Funds available for spending on tuition, books, class materials, lab equipment, and housing)

The scholarship funds are sent directly to the mentee’s college or university’s financial aid offices. Scholarship funds can be used for tuition, books, class materials, lab equipment, and housing.

As a mentor, you have the responsibility to maintain consistent contact with your mentee, which includes recording your meetings, assignments, job shadowing, and projects in the FIRM portal. If you do not keep the portal updated, then your mentee will not receive their scholarships.

  1. Once you have registered and created a profile in the FIRM portal online, you will be contacted by one of our staff members.
  2. The staff will pair you with a mentee whose collegiate or life goals align with your career or interests
  3. A meeting will be arranged to meet with your mentee for the first time.
  4. You will be in continuous communication* with your mentee about scheduling and recording meetings, assignments, job shadowing, and your project.

*It is very important that you update the FIRM portal with assignments and their completion because this is how the staff tracks your mentee’s progress on the requirements for the scholarship. If your mentee’s progress is not recorded, then they will not earn the scholarship.

How is the program monitored?

A crucial part of FIRM is your responsibility as a mentor to monitor and track your mentee’s progress in the program areas through careful data entry in FIRM’s online portal. Regular and timely communications with your mentee will be tracked within the online portal as well.

A video tutorial on using and recording progress in the FIRM portal program areas is available when you sign into the portal.

Can I be disqualified from the program?

If you do not satisfy the terms and conditions, then yes. The terms of FIRM involve being committed to the program requirements in order for your mentee to receive the scholarship each year. This means that you and your mentee must be diligent and timely in updating and recording your mentee’s activities and their completion on the online portal. If you do not complete these requirements, then the FIRM staff will end your participation in the program and your mentee will not receive the scholarship.

How much time do I need to commit?

We know your time is valuable as a volunteer mentor! Therefore, FIRM is strategically designed as an annual* mentoring program designed to be flexible, easy to manage, and only requires the following throughout the year:

– Scheduling one-on-one meetings with paired mentee depending on your schedules (can be done in person or via phone/video conference)
– Assigning character-development reading to mentee
– Helping your mentee complete a 1-hour minimum service project
– Providing or facilitating a minimum of 8 hours of job shadowing for your mentee to give them first-hand insight into your career field
– Assigning a meaningful and professional-level project as an opportunity for your mentee to present their work in front of an audience, which builds their confidence in public speaking and the ability to meet deadlines

*Please note that this program continues throughout the mentee’s college career, which means each year they are committed to FIRM, they receive a scholarship.

What type of assignments or planning do I need to do?

Because FIRM is designed to be flexible and easy to manage, the assignments you plan are up to you and entirely for your mentee’s benefit in helping them persist through college and beyond. If you talk to a FIRM staff member, they can give some examples of specific projects, books, and other assignments.