College Bound AZ

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Basic Information

Address: 4222 E Brown Rd #33 Mesa AZ 85205
Phone Number: 602-550-3161
Fax Number: 480.361.1245
Director: Liz Paulus

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College Bound AZ
College Bound AZ

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Additional Information

Causes Served: Postsecondary education for low-income youth 7-12 Grades
Clearances Required: Yes
Background Check: Yes
Population Served: Reduced or free lunch students 7-12 grade with GPA 2.5+
Ages for Volunteer: 18+
Hours of Service: 1 hour per week after school
Minimum Hours Required: 1 hour per week
Days of Service: varies with school
Mission Statement:

College Bound Mesa serve as a catalyst for low-income youths to enter and complete college by providing caring adult volunteers who become mentors, enrichment activities to assist in academic and personal development, parent education, and comprehensive college guidance.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

Early Intervention: Public/Private Ventures noted In “Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers and Big Sisters” that caring relationships between adults and youth produce tangible results. “The most notable results are the deterrent effect on initiation of drug and alcohol use, and the overall positive effects on academic performance the mentoring experience produced.” Emphasis was placed on youth between the ages of 10 and 14 during which time youth are identifying how society works and what their role is in society. College Bound Mesa focuses on identifying 12 year old youths in the 7th grade, partnering with these youths and their families, and assigning each student a mentor whose primary role is to guide that student to academic and social success.

Mentoring: Mentors serve as the chief cornerstone of College Bound Mesa. Mentors meet with their youth for approximately one hour per week and provide a positive role model, support and encouragement to their mentee. They are also important as they serve as the connectors between academic goals, students and families.

Families as Partners: Families are the primary providers of the essential elements of their child’s life, and College Bound Mesa addresses barriers that may be hindering student success. Families attend information sessions or obtain guidance that allows better student support. This also keeps families actively involved in decision-making.

Academic Enrichment: Enrichment opportunities are offered to youth to broaden their life experiences and involvement in their community. Youth are exposed to elements of the world outside of their customary surroundings, such as museums, college campuses and other intellectually stimulating venues. These life experiences better prepare youth for success when they graduate from high school. College Bound Mesa also schedules student meetings featuring problem-structured activities around “big ideas”. This allows students to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills, which can be applied to all aspects of their lives.

Goal Setting: College Bound Mesa utilizes goal setting as the primary catalyst for assisting our youth in becoming independent, self-directed learners. Goal setting activities center around three major areas: academic, relationships, and community service. Mentors work with youth in the monitoring of goal setting activities to assure the successful continuation of a cycle of setting a goal, identifying a plan to achieve the goal and, finally, attaining that goal.

Community Service: College Bound Mesa believes that community service provides opportunities for social and interpersonal development. Youth who are connected to their community through service become better directors of their own learning, develop a wider range of social comfort levels, experience working with a group in achieving common goals, enjoy heightened social sensitivity and develop a greater sense of personal responsibility. College Bound Mesa provides and encourages students to participate in activities associated with their own schools and communities.

College Scholarship and/or Financing: Because College Bound Mesa participants are selected on the basis of grades and excellent behavior, it is part of College Bound Mesa’s culture to expect superior student performance. The program works very hard to instill the philosophy of becoming self-directed, independent learners thus reinforcing the theme of students giving their best. Students position themselves for college through grades and by deciding their community service preference, professional interest area, and summer programs that will ensure they are competitive for available scholarships. Students must also meet deadlines for applying for federal aid and applying for college.

Program History:

In 2009, a Mesa high school graduate destined for an Arizona university still faced daunting challenges to achieve a successful first year. The student was the first in her economically disadvantaged Hispanic family to apply for college; no one in her family was college educated, and her life until now was sheltered. Her encouragement came from a Mesa Public School System program called Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) available in her high school (one of three Mesa high schools with an AVID program). Upon being accepted, her anxiety about leaving home and fending for herself was nearly overwhelming. In addition, her impoverished family was barely able to resource her for dorm life, but could not provide warm clothing as the graduate transitioned from valley heat to an alpine climate. There was no money for books. There was a brand-new system for existing that was complex and confusing. There were no friends initially. A significant debt was amassed, accrued through cafeteria meals, with no money to pay the debt and which threatened to derail future financial aid. In the end, what could have ended disastrously was turned around by a mentor.
This experience shows that economically disadvantaged students potentially require an investment of resources to aspire to higher education. The AVID program provided the initial vision, and the mentor provided the crucial link to transition successfully from high school to college. These resources, however, may not consistently be available in the majority of Mesa schools to assist our student population.
In 2010, the Mesa citizen who acted as a mentor conducted research to learn that only 22% of Mesa students were completing their college education. Based on a successful model of a similar organization in Phoenix, Arizona, Ms. Elizabeth Paulus founded College Bound Mesa. Ms. Paulus then approached a group of Mesa-area business and civic leaders also concerned about Mesa’s poor college graduation rates. Together, College Bound Mesa, Mesa United Way and an Advisory Committee that included individuals from the community, business, and education embarked on a mission to give talented and deserving young students from economically depressed families the motivation and support needed to graduate high school and go on to college. In September 2010, College Bound Mesa launches its pilot program for five students at Rhodes Junior High in south Mesa. College Bound Mesa’s vision is to expand to ultimately include 3,000 students who will graduate college and raise Mesa’s graduation rate to 30%.