Pearland ISD RISE Mentoring program grows over years, needs volunteers

Pearland ISD's RISE mentoring program has grown since its start in 2015. The program is looking for volunteers for 2018.

Pearland ISD's RISE mentoring program has grown since its start in 2015. The program is looking for volunteers for 2018.

Updated on Jan. 5 at 2:02 p.m.

Created three years ago, Pearland ISD's RISE mentoring program has grown in size and popularity. There are nearly 350 student-and-mentor matches, but there is a need for 90 more volunteers.

Mentors must be over 18 years old and have a free 30 minutes a week every week to meet with students. Volunteers will be required to pass the district's background check.

Mentors are personally matched with students by Mentor Specialist Mandy Benedix. Benedix will be matching mentors with students through March 2nd for the remaining 2017-2018 school year.

Pearland ISD is a recruiting event for potential mentors on Jan. 11 for anyone who is interested in learning more about the program.


Originally posted on Dec. 15 at noon

Pearland ISD’s RISE mentoring program was created to connect at-risk students with adult mentors. The program started with 200 children who were matched with a mentor. In the program’s third year, there are close to 350 student-and-mentor matches.

“The process to get them recommended can start from wherever, but eventually parent and teacher have to sign off,” Benedix said.

According to Benedix, the students can recommend themselves or their friends. PISD staff or the student’s parents can recommend students for the program as well, but must be a PISD staff member in order to access the form to sign a student up for the program.

“We didn’t want it to just be parents to just recommend the kids because the school knows what the kids are struggling with throughout the day,” Executive Director of Communications Kim Hocott said.

Once the application is filled out, and students, parents and administration are aware that the child is going to be a part of the program, students are matched with their mentors. While there is software that can match the students and mentors, Benedix matches each student and mentor herself.

“We wanted quality relationships, not quantity,” Benedix said. “We try to find someone that they have at least one common interest or common struggle. They are matched with the hope that it will work from the beginning.”

Mentors have to be high school graduates and must pass the district’s background check for any district volunteer. The district still needs 90 mentors to match with students for 2018.

The program is a 30-minute time commitment every week for the year during school hours. Training for the spring semester begins in January or February to give the student and mentor at least four months together.

“People need to know that coming into this you don’t need to have any special talents, any special degree, you just need to have a big heart. You don’t have to be a counselor or need to know the answers you just need to be there and care,” Hocott said. “100 percent of mentors get just as much out of this if not more than the kid does.”

Those interested in learning more can visit http://www.pearlandisd.org/mentoring
By Haley Morrison
Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.


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