Column: Mentorship programs need funding to help students reach their potential

Lack of financial support hinders some student’s ability to find academic support.

by Taylor Sharp

In 2005, I had a problem with multiplying and dividing and subtracting and getting remainders.

Yep, long division — the Godzilla of division: bulky and multi-layered. Fourth graders disappear into it.

I was a 9-year-old stuck in that snafu, but my difficulties lasted much longer than the week my classmates spent on it. The curriculum did not cease for me, so as the other kids dug deeper into arithmetic, I was still befuddled by the basics.

There was a way out of Godzilla’s belly. I had to shuffle up to Mrs. Pike’s desk. Despite my apprehension, she gladly dedicated herself, getting both to the core of my vexation and took the time teach me how to get pesky long division ingrained in my brain.

I was lucky to have a mentor smack dab in the classroom. For some students in the Twin Cities, the instinct to learn is alive, but their lives have obstacles that counter it. To stir their educational ambitions, they need mentorship programs like Prepare2Nspire.

The program, to quote recent Minnesota Daily reporting, reaches “underserved communities” and even allots bus passes for students to make meetings more accessible. These weekly meetings have resulted in boosted ACT scores and anecdotes of students finally getting the grade that seemed out of reach.

Prepare2Nspire’s grant is expiring in August and its future is uncertain.

In the era of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the outlook for our educational system has been compromised. But right here in Minneapolis we have people with bright ideas who want nothing more than to teach and an even greater number of students who truly want to learn.

They must have mentors who are passionate about teaching the next generation of thinkers.

It sort of sounds exhausting, but it needs to be exhausting in order to make the process of learning work.

In a perfect world, every struggling program to which the community gives an ear, well, wouldn’t be struggling.

Nevertheless, for some, mentorship programs are most accessible, and most helpful are mentors to whom they feel a connection.

Prepare2Nspire is one program of many in Minneapolis.

A swath of affordable and community-supported mentorship programs exist to help students, but the problem of funding remains.

A lack of financial support from grants and the community stifles the know-how mentors who can give to students and ripen their potential. With resources, mentors are able to bring out an effective, creatively abundant, uninhibited, dedicated learning environment. Without that kind of workshop, I wouldn’t’ve made it to 5th grade.