As the academic year at Tusculum College comes to a close, students participating as mentors in The Chance Program wrapped up another year with their Hal Henard Elementary School buddies.
The Chance Program is a mentoring program at Tusculum College, in which third graders from Hal-Henard visit Tusculum College to be mentored by volunteer college students.
According to Megan Buczek, a freshman education major from Chattanooga, mentoring is letting the younger students know that someone cares about them and wants the best for them and letting them know that they are not alone throughout their journey in their education and future career paths.
Because the program is located on the college campus it gives the third graders a glimpse of the college world and something to strive toward and achieve—a college education.
“Not only does the program show that to the children, but it also can be a way for parents or guardians who are considering going back to school or furthering their education to be on the college campus and see if it is something they want in their life again,” said Buczek.
The Chance Program focuses on a variety of topics, including healthy lifestyles, culture and diversity and reading and literacy. Students are introduced to healthy snacks and during reading time are encouraged to read about characters with cultural differences. The program also provides the child with a book that they get to choose and read while on campus with the college students that is theirs to keep.
According to Buczek, the program would not be possible without the generous financial support from The John Deere Foundation, who are committed to the promotion of reading and literacy.
“Hal-Henard and Tusculum College share a special relationship when it comes to this program because it would not be possible for this program to occur without the time and willingness of faculty and staff from both schools,” said Buczek.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to work with the third graders of Hal-Henard and their faculty and staff. I am truly blessed to work with such an amazing mentoring program where I can individually make a difference in a child’s life. I, and the rest of The Chance Program team, cannot wait to see what this program holds for the future and how it can make an impact on the lives of the third graders and their families.”
Developed in 2009 as a project of the Tusculum College Student Alumni Association and supported by the College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, the program operated under the student alumni association until 2011, when it was adopted as a service project for the teacher education program at the college.
The goal of the program is to motivate youth to achieve their potential by fostering inspiration to transform lives, education to change attitudes and connections to increase opportunities by pairing elementary students with Tusculum College students for weekly activities that expose the youth to the opportunities of higher education.
Through the years, the program has been locally, regionally and nationally recognized and has served more than 200 third grade students from Hal Henard Elementary School.