On a recent cold and cloudy Akron afternoon, passionate and excited University of Akron student mentors arrived at Innes Middle School and instantly brightened up the place. Eager to meet their mentees, the group quickly filed into the assigned room to officially begin this semester’s journey.

After an overwhelmingly positive pilot period that saw some of LJFF’s I PROMISE students more inspired, more supported, and more encouraged than ever before, the Foundation’s mentorship program with The University of Akron recently kicked off a new, expanded season. Extending its reach to three APS middle schools, the mentorship program pairs I PROMISE students with trained mentors from UA to provide after school assistance with homework and school projects, one-on-one help with goal setting, and hands-on help with keeping all aspects of their promise.

These regular mentor/mentee meetings provide more than just additional help after school, but also the vital resources of consistency, real-life advice, and real-time feedback on how they’re doing both at school and at home. It creates a camaraderie between the college students and the middle school students that breeds belief and confidence. It also helps them envision their own futures as college-bound students.

The amazing UA mentors and the example they set for our I PROMISE students make us proud to say, "We are family."