Although TN Promise, also known as Tennessee Promise, is a financial aid program, officials said a critical component and often the difference maker for many students is the volunteer mentor. Mentors work with three to seven students as they transition from high school to college. Mentors send reminders of important deadlines, serve as a trusted college resource and, most important, encourage students to reach their full potential. All mentors complete a one-hour training in person or online, and they receive weekly updates on the program and its requirements.
“While TN Promise funding is important, our mentors represent the heart of our program,” tnAchieves Executive Director Krissy DeAlejandro said. “In a time when all students are encountering change, mentor support and encouragement continue to be difference makers in the success of the TN Promise program but more importantly for the students it serves. I have learned you cannot replace a caring, committed support system, especially during times of transition.”
Current tnAchieves mentors indicate that they spend only about one hour per month in their volunteer role.
“While the time commitment is small, we know the impact mentors are having is significant,” tnAchieves Deputy Director of Partnerships Graham Thomas said. “If you believe education is important, can provide encouragement to a student and have just one hour a month, you can serve as an outstanding mentor for students in your community.”
Mentors are able to support their community almost entirely from home, offering support to students via text, email and calls all on their own schedule.
The tnAchieves program is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that has been providing scholarships with mentor support since 2008. To learn more about tnAchieves or apply to mentor, visit tnAchieves.org online or contact Thomas at (615) 604-1306.
TN Promise provides every high school senior the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition-free. The scholarship application is available for students beginning their senior year of high school at www.tnpromise.gov.