The $40,000 Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship program is adding a new resource, called "Promise Coaches," in order to help more city public school students qualify for the Promise. The informal mentors will be available to the scholars for encouragement, advice, or help, but they do not have to meet with their mentees on a regular basis.
The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania will train the mentors. The group's executive director, Colleen Fedor, said learning how to be a good listener is one of the first lessons for the mentors.
"The Promise Coaches training really focuses initially around helping adults see that their role isn't 'to do for kids' but 'to help kids do for themselves.'" Fedor said.
The mentors will be given the skills they need in a single 90-minute training session. Fedor said the mentor's role is to help the mentee see and take advantage of opportunities presented to them.
"Be present in the lives of kids so that there's no distractions," Fedor said. "[The mentors are] here to listen to you and talk to you and learn from you, as compared to talking at you."
The organization expects to prepare 500 "Promise Coaches" by July, and the first 35 volunteers will be trained Wednesday.