Launched in 2015, True2U is an innovative in-school group mentoring program serving every 8th grade student in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). Thanks to the commitment of hundreds of volunteer mentors, True2U is helping students develop good decision-making skills and encouraging them to leverage their strengths and interests as they begin their path to high school, college and career.
Making an impact
Throughout the first four years of the program, 7,500 8th graders across all 68 CMSD schools have been mentored. Why 8th grade? Students are at the highest risk of dropping out between 8th and 10th grade, and it’s a time when students think about career interests and future goals. Having any influence is helpful, but having a mentor who wants to share their wisdom and experience is truly a gift.
The results from True2U’s first four years are highly encouraging: 96% of the students discovered something helpful during a True2U session, and 89% of students would recommend True2U to a friend or relative. In the first two years of the program, students demonstrated significant gains in social competencies. 8th graders in years three and four showed additional gains in positive values and empowerment. Some of the fundamental skills that are improved through True2U include communication, organization and collaboration.
Shaping the next generation
Employers are eager to find new talent and retain those skilled individuals. One of the easiest ways to ensure talent in the future is to help youth today to start planning for their careers. 69 organizations have participated in the True2U Out of School Experience, where students get opportunities to see real world examples of how the skills they are learning can be applied in the workplace. 17 companies have returned all four years to provide an introduction to their business and industry, opening more possibilities for the students to consider for their futures.
Become a mentor today!
So, what does a mentor for True2U actually do? After orientation and training, all that’s required is for mentors to dedicate two hours a month during the school year to meet with the students in their classroom. Mentors are matched with small groups of students, working as a team throughout the year to promote the values of True2U (typically in a ratio of 2-3 mentors per 12-15 students). The students benefit by having a positive adult in their lives supporting and encouraging them. The mentor benefits from training and enrichment in the True2U topics, facilitation techniques and cultural competency skills. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of helping to shape—and be shaped by—the next generation of Cleveland’s leaders. Learn more and apply to become a mentor by visiting the True2U website here.