Mentoring Madness swept across the North Country on Monday, January 14 as mentors from area colleges, hospitals, businesses and non-profits talked with thousands of students at 13 schools about the importance of civic engagement, college and career readiness, and leadership.
The daylong event organized by CFES Brilliant Pathways was the largest mentoring event ever held in North Country, reaching over 3,000 students in Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties. Mentors talked with students about their own career paths, the Essential Skills that CFES considers critical to college and career readiness, and potential career opportunities.
“I stressed the importance of hard work, working well in teams, leadership, and being adaptable and flexible,” said Gabe Rodriguez, a senior assistant director in admission at the University of Vermont. “Typically, when you bring all of those Essential Skills together that CFES teaches it results in a very successful student.”
Mentoring Madness is part of an $11.6 million U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant secured by CFES – a global non-profit in Essex, NY, that has helped more than 100,000 students become college and career ready since 1991. Mentors went to Crown Point, Keene Central, Ticonderoga, Westport, Elizabethtown, Lake Placid Central, Peru Central, Plattsburgh High, Malone Central, Beekmantown Central, Moriah, Willsboro Central and Ausable Valley Middle High.
“I’m going to guess if I become a marine biologist I’ll have people under the water with me, which means I’ll need to be using teamwork with them,” said Beekmantown 8th-grader Keegan Seamone.
Mentors ranged in age and experience from Middlebury College students to seasoned professionals from the UVM Health Network. Participating organizations included the UVM Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, UVM, North Country Community College, Norsk Titanium, Middlebury College, Varsity Brands, Clinton Community College and others.
“Mentorship is a critical core practice that CFES has focused on for almost 30 years,” said CFES President and CEO Rick Dalton. “This event connected thousands of young people with mentors who we know can have a major impact on helping students realize their hopes and dreams.”
CFES Brilliant Pathways is a nonprofit that helps urban and rural students become college and career ready through Core Practices and programs that build Essential Skills and college and career knowledge. We currently serve 25,000 students in 30 states and Ireland.