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Make a Difference, Be a Mentor

Two students walking at the Dandini Campus.
Rebecca A. Eckland

If you, like many others, made resolutions to give back in 2022 there’s one easy—yet impactful—way that you can do this: become a Nevada Promise Mentor. Unlike other commitments that may require that you donate large swaths of personal time or resources, or that require you to miss time at work or even at home, mentoring a Nevada Promise Scholar is perhaps the most efficient way to be a good (or at least a better) person this year.

“Mentoring is really a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Chris Jones, Nevada Promise Scholarship Coordinator. “Our mentees benefit from having the experience of their mentors, and mentors benefit from mentees in getting a better understanding of the next generation of college students.”

Nevada Promise Scholars are Nevada residents who graduate with their high school diploma and are under 21 years old. Many of these students are first-generation college students who are trying to improve their lives through education. Simply put, TMCC's Nevada Promise Scholarship helps youth in our community access higher education without the barriers associated with cost. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity helps qualifying students earn a scholarship to cover the cost of registration fees and other mandatory fees not covered by other gift aid at TMCC.  In order to take advantage of the scholarship, these students need to meet with a mentor who can encourage them to follow through on the rest of the requirements (which include submitting a FAFSA for financial aid, obtaining a sufficient number of volunteer hours and several other administrative steps that need to be completed to qualify for the scholarship).

Nevada Promise candidates are matched with a mentor who meets with them once per semester until community college graduation. Mentors may meet with their mentees either in person or virtually. As a mentor you can also answer a lot of other questions about the college experience, how to handle stress, or how not to lose track of assignments that are due in all of your classes. Beyond that, even acting as a positive role model who is there to listen and support can be hugely beneficial for these students.

Five Reasons to Mentor a Nevada Promise Scholar

It goes without saying that no mentoring program can succeed without volunteer mentors. We would love for you to join us in improving the lives of Nevada’s youth, and to make our world a better, educated place by sharing your experiences, insights and presence with our students.

Here are our top five reasons why you would sign up to be a mentor for one—or up to ten—Nevada Promise Scholars this coming semester.

  1. You can make someone’s educational dream come true. As a Nevada Promise Scholar, a requirement of the program is that you have to have a mentor. Simply being there for your student, meeting with them once a semester, will enable them the opportunity to pursue their education and career goals. 
  2. It doesn’t require much time. The time commitment is minimal, around 3-5 hours per semester. That’s probably less time than you dedicate to waiting in line to buy coffee! The mandatory training is self-paced and online, and meetings with your mentee need only occur once a semester. Turn your spare moments into a place where you give back to others in need of your expertise. 
  3. You can make a difference. This isn’t just a t-shirt slogan: as a mentor, you will share your insights, passions and knowledge with the next generation. Whether it’s your sense of humor, your inspiring words or your ability to remind students to meet their deadlines, you’re making a positive difference in their lives, just by acting as additional support.
  4. You don’t have to be an expert. You’re not an academic advisor, a tutor, a financial aid expert, a best friend, a parent or a genie who knows all the answers. Being a mentor requires only that you be yourself. Aside from a short mandatory training, the only expertise you need is an enthusiasm for helping others, and the desire to make a positive difference in the world. 
  5. Make 2022 the year you give back. As someone in the working world, chances are you had one or several mentors who supported you and offered you guidance, feedback and who cheered you on as you worked your way toward your goals and dreams. There’s no time like the present to decide to be the change you want to see in the world. Acting as a Nevada Promise Mentor is a great place to start.

The Fine Print

In addition to the benefits of mentoring a student outlined above, the other major perk of the Nevada Promise program is the lack of fine print. Potential mentors need to be at least 21 years old, can’t employ or be related to their mentee and cannot be compensated for their mentoring. Finally, mentors must also pass a criminal background check and cannot have committed a felony. Having attended college is not a requirement.

Jones reports that approximately 300-500 students who are currency high school seniors in Nevada will take advantage of this scholarship opportunity at TMCC, which means the need for mentors is great. Make a difference in 2022: sign up to be a Nevada Promise Mentor!

For more information about the Nevada Promise Scholarship and to sign up as a mentor, contact the department at 775-673-8236.