Volunteer mentors needed for SAM center

The Sam Center plans to hold volunteer interviews Oct. 13 through Oct. 15, for the “El Siguiente Paso” (ESP) Mentoring Program.

The transition from high school to college can be seen as another step in the stride of life for some, but for others it is a giant leap of faith.

“El Siguiente Paso” which translates as “The Next Step”, is a mentoring program to help high school students get involved with the university to help make an easy transition to college.

The program began for the Hispanic community at Huntsville High School.

“It started toward high school Latin culture, but now it stands out to all under-represented populations,” Cindy Harris of the Sam Center said.

Another goal for the program is to provide the resources necessary to aid in the students’ education.

“Some have no idea what it takes to get into college, they may not have resources available, and that is what we want to provide,” Harris said.

The program intends to motivate students about college as well.

“A lot of times they’ve never thought of going to college, and we want to put that seed in their head to let them know ‘hey you can do it too,'” Harris said.

Students from Huntsville High School will meet with SAM Center’s mentor program volunteers, one day a week, for four weeks.

The students will tour the campus where guest speakers will discuss admissions, financial aid, career decision-making, and residence life.

“We want to give exposure to various areas that will be important to them. We want to help them reach higher education goals,” Harris said.

Volunteers will have one orientation day a week before the program begins, and will need to attend each session.

Students interested in volunteering need to have at least a 2.5 GPA, but should also have a serious heart for the job.

“There is a time commitment. I want to know you are serious about helping other students. I remember when I was in high school, hearing things about college. Imagine if you didn’t have anybody. It can be very intimidating,” Harris said.

The volunteers selected for the mentoring program will be announced on Thursday October 16th.

Harris encourages college students to volunteer for the program.

“We’ve been given an opportunity to succeed and I think we all have a responsibility to give back. This is a great way to give back,” Harris said.

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