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Marathon Scholars 091618

Sep 14, 2018|

AN INTERVIEW WITH MOLLI MITCHELL, DIRECTOR OF YOUTH PROGRAMS AT MARATHON SCHOLARS ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO MATCHING COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS WITH MENTORS WHO HELP THEM ACHIEVE SUCCESS.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is mantras go and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program and Gary blocks of marathon scholars a nonprofit here in Portland believes that inside every child is a dream. And sometimes it just takes an adult men search help that child make that dream become a reality. Let's find out how they do that to like to welcome Molly Mitchell director of youth programs at marathon scholars to microscope they're Molly. Well. So low American scholars to me what that is. So marathon scholars is a nonprofit here in Portland that brings together caring adults and talented low income children to make the dream of a college degree a reality. We believe that higher education is life changing and should be accessible to all who aspired to it. Marathon invests in students early in fourth grade to prepare them for the journey to and through college. I recruiting highly motivated college aspiring students from title one elementary schools. And supporting them with manager ship and whole family enrichment programming. We aim to increase the college enrollment to retention and graduation rates among low and come first generation students from Portland. So you start with them in the fourth grade that's that's the seems pretty young how do you know they should be college bound in the fourth grade. We partner with a couple of elementary schools to Foster college going in fire agreements. And they introduce students in the area early into the concept of college. And so when we eat. Reach out to those teachers. To kind of gets my. Recommendations. And students those teachers have already it identified some students who have expressed interest in going to college even if it's just kind of a preliminary idea. In their minds teachers are amazingly that they can really spot students in in kind of already see their path that's that the cool thing it's absolutely true. We give our teachers a lot of credit in our program for kind of fostering. Desire for learning in curiosity. That our students have. And we always look is teachers say give us kind of those first recommendations. Of who do you think would be a great marathon scholar. And that the mentors to me about the mentoring where they come from. Managers where. They come from all over they're just interested adults who want to invest a little bit of time in. Supporting a young person on their journey to college. So they can come from anywhere that you come from anywhere in the parliamentary area just. Need to be able to travel to meet their students. And invest about five hours a month. In either meeting up in person or chatting via via phone or email. And what to do when they win the student and the mentor together tell me about what that is like what they do. They do a variety of things sometimes. Our managers inch reduce our students in new activity is penning get them out of their comfort zones. Sometimes our students introduced there many tourists in new activity you can get them out of the comforts us. And they do all sorts of activities including going to is museums or show is they take a walk in their neighborhoods and notice what's there. A lot of times managers learn a little bit more about their students' families. So there at their spending time together at a Barbeque or family event. Are sometimes they're showing up to school and kind of supporting their students in they're athletic activities are extra curriculars. In essence they do start in the fourth grade which is pretty young good does the same mentor stay with the same student. Throughout their high school or their and their problem lower education career against. It is possible. We don't ask for that long of a commitment the only ask for a four year commitment from Armon terrorist. With the opportunity to re new dance at the end. We do know that those long term relationships are beneficial for our students and building trust and understanding. And kind of learning more about each other. So some are managers have stayed with their students about long we do have some some folks who've been with us since the beginning. So we've been around about fifteen years. And we still have an interest in our program who've been here since day one. How important is the support from the student's family. To get in for the whole family to get involved with marathon scholars it is crucial. When we ask for applications were asking for an application really from the whole family. We want our. Scholars to know that there in a community of support. And a lot of times getting to our events requires parents involvements are. Pairing consent at the very least and we wanna know that our scholars are supported most of our families. Have never heard all the parents at least have never navigated all of these waters they don't necessarily know what to look for. What to watch out for and so we understand that when we want to bring them into all of our programming. Making sure that everyone has access to information and services. Tell me about says a success story of one of the students that's that's coming down through the whole thing. You won't have a million of them. We do we do we have probably dozens we don't have a thud a ton of cannot do in our program we only take in about ten students per year. And I was sale Leo we have lots of success stories. And because. And our students who are graduating. Feel so kind of grateful for the support that they have received from marathon. In navigating all of the bureaucracy and all of the ways that sometimes first generation students can get tripped up. So one of her. Brilliant students who that was our first skull Horace recently graduated and she'd. Took one year off of school she had started out at PC seen and that's. Got experience what is. She was feeling like you know what I can make more money just working in and school is kind of hard about planes in the news difficult it says managed. Needing to earn an in com. And school passage she had dropped out for a year and works during that time and in came to the realization that you know may be she could be earning a little bit more. So she Rian Ralston. And got. Got back on track and just recently graduated with a degree in women's studies from Portland State University is looking at going to graduate school. She did her internship for months a master at marathons scholars and we had a chance to really see her skills shine. And she was really grateful to have an opportunity to give back to younger students. And can help get them engaged in the same way that she felt engaged and she was younger. I would imagine that that some of the students they go through the whole process do they wanna come back in and be mentors themselves. Yes many of them do. And so we are engaging in that process right now one of merit scholars that just took graduated with a degree in as a physician assistant. She's also interested in serving on our board of trustees. And so we value that input and we wanna know from boot students themselves. How we can make our programming in our organization even better more relevant. And serve perhaps even more students so we look forward to having her voice on our board we also currently have a couple of parents. And our scholars serving on our board providing them voiced. And and some of that perspective. It's really important and necessary when working with. A really diverse group of students and families. We're talking today with mauling Mitchell director of youth programs that marathon scholars. And we're recording this interview on September 11 which is kind of an important day for you guys tell me why September 11 and so important. Our founders were really inspired by a the events of September 11 and think that day was a little bit of a wake up call for our country. And of course for our founders they realize you know there is. A lot more than needs to be done that we can all pitch in to do when they looked for things that they can do. To make a meaningful impact on the community. And one of the ways that they. Chose to engage of course was through education they looked at Oregon's graduation rates specifically in Portland. And said this isn't right we've got to do something about the extent. Our students. We're not even graduating high school at a reasonable rates Sunday you know. That relationships. Can make a difference. Feeling connected and involved. Feeling like you who belong somewhere. I really matters and they decided that mantra shipped with an incentive for a scholarship. Would be the way to do that. So really the offensive. 9/11 in 2001 inspired. Are startup in 2002. And our recruiting of our first class and in 2003. That's also what a great way to turn something horrible into something fantastic. I think we are all looking for a way to connect. And a way to make meaning out of some of those events. How does one become a mentor what if what if somebody up to listening wants to get involved and they do that they can go. Right to our web site and check Alex. Men train about ass and there's a link there to apply we just ask for application in on mine and we will give back tube right away. And then the next steps in the process. Are an interview. Background check. And that training so eight usually takes a couple of weeks to get all of those activities done. And then we talk about Mac Cheney and what kind of student in my wanna be matched with younger student her older students. Maybe an introverted students or someone who is really into science or the career field that your and what kind of qualifications as a mentor need. They need to have we navigated to college in some some respect each it doesn't you don't have to have been through it in four years it kind of taking you longer. I need sample of the student they gave early here. Order or you. Could've had a nontraditional route to college. But we do want our students to see someone who has navigated that's. System and is doing well in the air whatever their chosen career field might be. I'm just to see what that could look like we want our managers to expand their child's view of the possible. Whatever that is and that life whatever is possible. So they don't have to have a specific career background or educational background. We just want and says be curious and persistent. And opened help open the mind of the young person. To Whittle the students to what and where the students come from. And and Howard their lives just who magically changed by this it's just amazing. The magic trick. That. He doesn't definite intense yeah. Colors are students come from a variety of countries. I sings come from a race here in the US. Our students we recruit are students basically out of two elementary schools that we formed good partnerships with over the years foggy in. In the northeast Portland area on the concordia campus. And Alder elementary out in the Reynolds school districts. Where. We partner with an organization called together we are greater than and the folks say greater than. And the folks at five BN net and that. 32 Ph.D. program. Helpless identifier students early and that help our students can. Filter into the program and they hope support them. Through the next couple of years as they launched into middle school in high school. You also have enrichment programs but the what does that mean. So be it no and it amend your ship is is merely as supportive relationship that hopefully it fosters a fun and trusting environment. We also know that our students and our family is need. Access to information so we take our whole family is. My and family college day tourists where we go into her state universities in the state more again sometimes at Washington. And we explore what's available on college campuses sometimes our families don't really know much about does. Opportunities on campuses lake on student health services. Or mental health support are two or or what kinds of financially are available. Oftentimes those are just mysteries and we want to unveil of those mysteries and no help families know that. They're students will be supported holistic Leon campus. A lot of times our families are afraid to let their babies go. And we wanna make sure they may noted that that is. A safe thing to do and that there is in campus safety available. We want students in home what kind of majors are available and what is the campus feel like we wanna get them. There are two to discover all of those things so Stanley college is one of our enrichment activities. We also did career days sometimes service days in partnership with other organizations. It is to really help our students understand what careers might be available to them. And also what kinds of things contribute to a great resume air college application. Is who is sometimes if the student is this their first exposure to college at all and maybe the first time anyone in their families on the college. This is usually the first time anyone in their family has gone to college. Typically because of the organizations in the schools that we partner with it isn't the first time they've distanced themselves have been exposed to college. When we recruit at five BN you know and they work. In conjunction every day with students actually accordion university in their school is located right on the campus there. Assistants do you understand a little bit about. Universities and colleges that they don't necessarily feel like it's accessible to. And for family is. Hopefully. Our families through the years come on many college tours with us and they feel comfortable using the language of universities they know what it campus. Is that it's a group of buildings. That universities aren't just all in one building necessarily. Pack things like that so often times you know. Families may go on their first college tour. But through the years and our program. Hopefully becomes more and more familiar. That's a myth it's amazing thing we need you first go to a college campus and literally while I hear I remember that so vividly when I went to college a a 100000 years ago it was it was kind of overwhelming. Absolutely and I think he can be overwhelming to anybody yet it did it doesn't have to be you know. My family of my dad did graduate from college they even when I went to college it was a huge campus and there 40000 students there and as miles between my courses. And that felt so enormous and it was just teeming with students in south. Because I had been there before and I had visited campus and I had family and cousins. There were there with mean it didn't feel so overwhelming and we wanna create a similar atmosphere. For students is no a little bit about where to Cohen. Lots of burst serve and Heidi find the cashier's office and how do you make sure your your log tin tear. You know financial aid correctly and and all of those kinds of things how do you choose your course is correctly what do you do when you need to drop the class. We offer a lot of enrichment supports first students in terms of academic advising. And can't just the basics of navigating. All of the things you need to know once you get onto campus. Prop even a career Catholic boy what meekly said earlier and start to dream and what can I dream of what's so there are no limits or maybe there are some limits and and how they go about navigating that too. Sure yeah. A lot of our older students have expressed interest in you know certain career fields that we then try to find managers to match them up. In those career fields the student that I mentioned earlier who is interested in becoming a physician assistant. Her manager recently is a physician assistant and we and matched them based on that interest. And she feels like she knows how to navigate that application process with the schooling process is gonna look like and want her career opportunities are. Once she graduates because of that censorship. How large. Is the need in our community to have her phone's caller a round. He is doing such great work. I think it and in need can never be overestimated. No matter who you are you need a little bit of guidance and a little bit of information. I think that it's our schools are really overwhelms. And our schools don't have necessarily our public schools anyways not have the resources. To really Foster that curiosity and the development. In all of their students and so you know they need is fairly outstanding. For that type of emotional support. The guidance in intellectual information that students may need. And then kind of there at the relationship peace and of of bringing in the family and making sure that's the families understand. Their roles as well because it's one thing to help the student navigate that thing. You know sometimes our families are like is said reluctant to let their students go and just. Allowing them that's based say it to feel those things into may be green there's student leaving for the first time. We we try to do that all in relationship. We try to make sure that you know families are connected to each other than they're not going through this thing alone. That's probably really important for. This family friendly day and to only be to get the other maybe they don't know each other but they're going through the same process so as propagate them to get together and chat. Yeah and so we offer up those opportunities you know on the buses on the way down we have. Events where we we bring together families we make sure that the entry DC each other. Introduce themselves to each other and through those relationships we've seen families. Kind of grow in their face an understanding of what this process is all of ballots. We've seen family support each other during getting into. You know may be different high schools with different opportunities for their students. And we've seen family is kind of coordinate and collaborate for. You know college. Then transportation. Student drop. Box things like that. He does have a about fund raiser coming up we wanna talk about to tell me about and the fund raiser pulled a polite. We sure do so this is our psyche ear hosting a benefit concert for marathon scholars. And we are hosting next coming up on Saturday September 29. At 3 PM at first Baptist Church. We have three at unique core players who are all coming together to hold up the late for our scholars. We have Bridgetown sound witches and me. I Capellan men's group. Who competitive they compete all over here and act Conseco singers which is more classical. Small choir. And the Portland interfaith gospel choir which is a larger gospel choir. Dedicates you. Elevating their communities through the gifts in music. And they're all coming together to support marathons Collins tickets are only twelve dollars and fifteen dollars at the door. Where do you get advanced tickets you can get them on our website marathon scholars dot org slash events slash rally our eight ally. Going to be cool when you said it's coming at September 29 on Saturday at 3 o'clock that's right we're burst on the church what a fun thing to hear you over all those voices singing and in the noticed for good cause it's that's fantastic. It's gonna be really exciting we have one of our scholars is and seeing the events and another scholar who is joining in with the singing. Miss finale number called hold up the light so we're really excited seeing gauged. Our students their families and all of these choirs and hopefully some of your audience members as well. How else can our listeners get involved what what can they do to help I'll marathons callers or listeners. And they came and that help us. In the office as volunteers they can help chaperone events. They can help us with San administrative tasks are fundraising. And we always have opportunities. Skiing and we encourage you to reach out to us act. Info at marathons scholars stop or with any questions you my house. You can also check out our website marathon scholars dot org for more information and there's a place to donate online tutoring there sure is always used to view donations and always his donations. And that includes gifts. It at an estate gifts that includes. Stocks that includes all sorts of ways that you can. Help support the next generation of leaders in accessing. Education. So one thing when you do make a donation online or in person to marathon scholars a goes towards a 121000 dollar scholarship to me about the up. So did nations TN go to scholarships that we need to be designated specifically. One of the ways that this scholarship funds have been covered in the past is from by folks making a pledge of a hundred dollars a month for ten years. And we have had so many folks go that route those scholarships are then available once or students reach college. And it's 121000 dollars so typically divided about 3000 dollars per academic year. That supports anything the student needs whether that's a new. Laptop. Whether that's books whether that's helped towards tuition in our housing to stay on campus. Her scholarship and is flexible to meet the students means. Now we know that our students coming from low income families don't necessarily have access to all of the things at their higher in computers might. And we wanna make sure that. That playing field as a little bit more equitable so our scholarship goes towards making sure that happens. That's awesome. So did it like you said earlier we're recording this on September 11 so that was. 9/11 2001 was seventeen years ago. Marathons caller started about sixteen years ago so it's time to have a student probably go through the whole process and graduate from college absolutely so tell me about. That student or those students. Sure we've had students graduated from all sorts of universities. All of her from Syracuse University to a Euro though. All way up says in a university Washington. And we are extraordinarily proud of our students and and they grit that they've shown the determination and and I am how we have probably eve. Close to fifteen. Graduates at this point. Hmmm who are now working in all sorts of sectors we have a student who is teaching English abroad. We have a student to. Is in the nursing field's rate here in Portland. Who has come back and brought her little siblings all announces service days and trips just to make sure that they get the same exposure to information and support that she did. That's so great what a great thing in rewarding to to follow students and and see what they've. What they've become that's fantastic absolutely an open once they won't Emery can find more information marathon scholars dot or. Also think it's a much smaller for rematch today thinking Gary appreciate you haven't a son were talking with Paul Mitchell director of youth programs that marathon scholars. Mitchell's go fees and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary blocks and if you're involved with a non profit for public affairs organization or if you have an idea for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. This is microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website and submit your information there. Thanks for listening to metros go and enjoy the rest of your weekend.