In recent years our Rotary Scholarship Program, led by Ellie Schatz, has taken on new dimensions. Already a program that touched 80 young people a year with college financial support that helped them to achieve their education and career dreams, a mentoring component added social and emotional support to the equation. Many of our college scholars have experienced tragedy, abuse, or hurdles in their short lives that are beyond what we can imagine. Many are first generation college students. All have dreams for the future that include completion of their college degrees. All, we hope, will graduate from college. In order to help achieve these successes, more than 50 members of our club volunteer time with scholars each year as their one-to-one mentors.
On July 17, more than 60 scholars, mentors and guests attended the 6th annual picnic of the mentor-scholar group, hosted this year by Nate Brand and Regina Millner. The event epitomizes the club’s strategic goals of service and fellowship. Mentors give service above self by being there for their scholars over the entire time they are undergraduates. Our statistics show that our scholars graduate not only because of the financial support and their personal dreams and determination, but because a professional liaison has answered their questions, put them in touch with resources, helped them through difficult situations, or just been there for them over time. The picnic brings together rising freshmen through recent graduates as well as their adult mentors from all fields. As one mentor mentioned after this year’s picnic, “there wasn’t a wallflower in the group.” Everyone was interacting, everyone was having fun, and as another mentor mentioned, “the food was great.” Thank you to everyone involved in this fellowship and service experience.