Indianapolis, Indiana – Nearly two hundred college students traveled to Indianapolis to kick-off the 2019-2020 programming year with a weekend full of training and capacity building. Thirty-two universities from nine states were represented, with all students holding leadership positions within their university chapters of College Mentors for Kids.
College students began the 2019 National Conference, presented by Corteva Agriscience, by interacting with graduate school sponsors. Representatives from Marian University’s Fred S. Klipsch Educators College and Purdue University’s College of Education were available to network and share information about their programs.
The primary focus of National Conference was to provide trainings for chapter leaders. Noting the importance of the weekend, College Mentors staff, Lexi Wood said, “Chapter leaders need concrete resources to succeed in their role. These sessions ensure leaders received standardized training, while also giving them the opportunity to talk in-person with national office staff about their positions.”
Two of the conference sponsors assisted with chapter leader training by sharing their expertise during sessions. Dr. Ronda Hamm of Corteva Agriscience taught VPs of Activity Planning the importance of tailoring activities to each grade level saying, “Developmental appropriateness affects behavior, retention, and program impact. It is a critical piece of making weekly activities successful.” Starbucks Store Manager Claire Himmelspach spoke to VPs of Fundraising about asking for in-kind donations from local stores.
In addition to position specific trainings for chapter leaders, outside speakers presented on topics including cultural competency, poverty, and leadership. The Lumina Foundation sponsored Child Advocate’s Undoing Racism Workshop, which gave chapter leaders valuable insight into their role as gatekeepers for the youth they serve.
Reflecting on the weekend, College Mentors CEO, Shelley Hunter, shared, “Chapter leaders headed back to their campuses with the tools and resources essential to lead their chapters in the 2019-2020 program year, connecting 2,800 elementary students with a college student mentor.”