The Free Minds Mentorship Program offers a year of transitional support program alumni, fostering meaningful one-to-one relationships between Free Minds graduates and mentors from the academic, business, and cultural communities.
Who are Free Minds mentors?
Good mentors come in many forms and take many roles. 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 thoughtfully 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 Protégé for one year
- Have an interest in or experience with helping others to achieve their academic, career, or personal goals
- Attend a two-hour mentor training and separate orientation event
We are no longer accepting mentor applications for the 2013-14 academic year. We will begin recruiting mentors for 2014 graduates in spring of 2014. Please contact the Free Minds office if you would like to receive a mentor application once they become available.
Over the course of two semesters in the Free Minds class, our students develop crucial skills in critical thinking, writing, and verbal communication. Although many of our students enter the class with fear and anxiety, once they have completed the program, the majority of our graduates report feeling more self-confident and prepared to take on other college classrooms. As 2012 graduate Stacey Kennedy put it, “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, graduation from Free Minds can be stressful, as our students wonder, Where do I go from here? and How do I use what I’ve gained in Free Minds to improve my future? These are tough questions to answer. For students who have become accustomed to being part of an engaged and supportive intellectual community, they now face the challenge of staying focused on their educational and career aspirations without the encouragement and structure that the Free Minds class provides.
The aim of the Free Minds mentorship program is to provide that next step that will build on the momentum of the class experience. Through mentorship, Free Minds will continue to support graduates as they refine and pursue their academic, career, and artistic goals.
Benefits and Goals of Mentorship:
1.) Providing graduates with role models – Adults who have faced barriers to education often do 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.