Ask Joe   

Mountie Mentors Guide Students

student smiling at conference
By Elaine Regus

February 22, 2019 - 12:49 AM

Once a month a dedicated group of Mt. SAC faculty, staff and managers participate in the Mountie Mentor Meeting program designed to provide students with an inclusive, supportive and engaging experience as part of the college’s Inreach efforts to help under-represented students successfully complete college.

Tannia Robles, Director of High School Outreach, said an estimated 150 to 200 students and 20 volunteer mentors meet monthly to discuss a specific theme related to personal growth based on student suggestions. Themes have included: Transfer Success, Money Management, Finish Strong and De-Stress, and Self Love and Healthy Relationships.

Mountie Mentor Meetings, which started in Fall of 2017, are open to all students but specifically target equity student populations such as foster youth and minority males.

 “We are reaching students who are not necessarily connected to any campus programs but that are looking to make connections,” Robles said.

 Meetings include a brief presentation on the monthly theme, interactive activities, table group mentoring, a free dinner and a motivational ending including announcements of campus programs and events that would be beneficial for the students. Participants also have the opportunity to attend field trips, movies and cultural events at no cost. The program concludes in May with an all-day Student Success Conference where students attend workshops that speak to their personal interests.

 “I’ve had students tell me that that they’ve learned so much about themselves through their participation,” Robles said. “For example, one student shared that through the Finish Strong and De-Stress meeting he learned from his peers’ techniques they use to stay calm and through this realization became aware that the way he was trying to de-stress was unhealthy.”

 The students look forward to participating in the meetings and so do the mentors, who have shared with Robles what they have learned from the presenters and the students.

 “We don’t have evidence that it is keeping students in school, but I do know that it is helping to create a community of care for so many students that often feel a little lost in such a large campus,” Robles said. “I want students to walk away not only with resources of information and new connections, but to be more aware that we are here to support them in their academic and personal journey because we truly care about them.”

 Robles, along with Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, vice president of Student Services, and Dr. Eric Lara, associate dean of Student Equity, will be presenting in March at the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Officers Conference about this innovative mentoring program.

Mountie Mentor Meetings usually take place the second Thursday of the month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at various campus locations. Contact the Mt. SAC Inreach Services office at inreach@mtsac.edu for further information about the program or about becoming a mentor.