Travella Free, Center for Access and Success awarded NCICU grant for mentoring program

The $5,000 grant from the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) will fund the iBELONG Male Mentor Program, which will be housed in the Center for Access and Success. 

Travella Free, executive director of the Center for Access and Success, received $5,000 in grant funds from the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) iBELONG Male Mentor Program.

The iBelong Male Mentoring Program at Elon will be housed with the Center for Access and Success and will work within the center’s First-Generation Student Support Services and the Odyssey Program. The Center for Access and Success will collaborate with other departments on campus such as the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education (CREDE) and the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) to support the iBelong program.

Grant funds will be used as supplemental funding for current college access and success efforts. The iBelong Male Mentoring Program will help increase the retention of male students of color, especially students with financial needs, through activities and workshops.

The activities to be implemented will include a peer/peer mentor component where faculty and staff will provide administrative support. In addition, the program will provide consistent, reliable support networks for male students of color, provide more opportunities for students to talk with each other and with older mentors about the challenges they are facing, create new and support existing communities of support to make students feel more connected and less overwhelmed, and teach students how to network and provide opportunities for networking to occur.

A significant focus of the program will be encouraging students to choose their majors and preparing them to consider career options after graduation. Career exploration workshops will be designed for students to examine their interest and skills, investigate careers that complement passion and strengths, understanding the job market, online career resources, and participate in a Career Panelist session where students can talk with people in the fields that interest them. The goal is to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to succeed in college and manage their career long-term. Students will have access to virtual and face-to-face resources to reach learning outcomes.