Mentoring class sends TCU students to Como Elementary School

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    TCU students have swapped their textbooks and midterms for Uno and safety scissors this fall, thanks to a mentoring program designed for children from the Como neighborhood.

    Students enrolled in the Nature of Values: Mentoring class have been traveling to Como Elementary School to guide and interact with Como students in their after-school programs.

    The class is part of the Honors Colloquia, an upper division track for honors students focused on discussion-based and experiential learning, and it’s being offered for the first time this semester.

    Randy Lewis, a business professor working with the honors college this fall, has piloted a similar mentoring class for Neeley Fellows before, but he was excited to bring a class focused on mentoring to honors students.

    Lewis said the mentoring program is valuable for both the TCU students and the students at Como, because both receive the benefits of a positive mentoring relationship.

    “Studies have shown that there is great value in mentoring throughout a person’s life,” Lewis said. “Even in the workplace, effective mentoring has been proven to increase productivity in different areas.”

    The children at Como Elementary School live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Fort Worth, a part of the city where the median income is around $13,000 per year, Lewis said.

    The class is designed to help TCU students leave their comfort zones, and after-school teacher Lana Chapman said they’ve been thriving in this new environment.

    “They have been absolutely wonderful to have around; the kids love them and it’s been great watching them interact with each other,” Chapman said.

    Andrew O’Brien, a junior mathematics major, added that the TCU students have been having just as much fun as the kids from Como Elementary.

    “It’s been a blast working with them,” O’Brien said. “They have so much potential, if they put their mind to it, they can do great things.”

    In addition to the after-school sessions, TCU students are assigned mentors of their own – prominent figures from the DFW metroplex that enjoy working with college students and helping them network.

    “We have C-level executives that sign up to mentor students: the president of Coors, the COO of Omni bank, the president of Kimberly-Clark, and more – they all want to work with TCU students,” Lewis said.

    The class also contains an academic component, where students research and debate the value of mentoring while also utilizing their own experiences.

    Though the class will end in just over a month, one student from Como Elementary hopes the mentoring relationship will continue past this December.

    “I hope we get to have more fun, together,” elementary-schooler Keliah Washington said.

    The Nature of Values: Mentoring class will not be offered in the spring, but may be offered for a second time next fall.