New mentoring program is EPIC | NevadaAppeal.com

New mentoring program is EPIC

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

Ana Munoz, 15, is the youngest of five children and plans to be the first in her family to go to college.

“I want a better future,” she said.

Her dream since she was a little girl has been to become a cosmetologist and open her own business.

With no role model, however, she’s not sure how to get there.

That’s where the new mentoring program, EPIC, hopes to make a difference.

A collaboration between Carson High School, the Mentor Center and Western Nevada College, the program will pair students with professionals within the community. The mentors will help students be successful through high school and guide them into the next phase of education.

Bridget Gordon and Paul Young, who are coordinating the program through the Mentor Center, are looking for volunteers who will work with students from their sophomore year of high school through their first year of college or trade school.

The professionals will either work with the students in the careers they’re interested in or help them find a career path.

“The mentor will also help them to find funding, study for SATs or ACTs, and ensure that they are taking classes which support their post-high school life,” Gordon explained.

Students were invited to take part in two informational meetings at Carson High School last week. Those interested in continuing in the program submitted applications.

Caleb Schadeck, 15, came to the meeting looking for some direction for his future.

“I don’t quite know what I want to be yet,” he said. “I just thought it would be good to expand my knowledge.”

Gordon said they were particularly targeting students who would be the first in their families to go to college, who have a loved one incarcerated or whose grades are below a “B” average.

EPIC stands for Educational Preparation and Improvement for College. It is modeled after a similar program at Hug High School in Reno called ASCENT.

Young said it will work much like the existing system used by the Mentor Center, a program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada.

“It’s more specific that our community-based program,” he said. “But, at the same time, we want that same relationship where they have that trust.”

Mandy Chambers, a counselor at Carson High School, thinks the program will be a benefit to the students who need it most.

“There’s all these obstacles to getting to college, and they’re just not seeing how to overcome them,” she said. “The mentor will help them along the way. The mentor can help navigate the path to college.”

Students who attended meeting expressed interest in careers ranging from police work to teaching to becoming a veterinarian.

Others were looking for guidance.

But they all agreed that to be successful, they need support.

“I would want someone to help me,” Munoz said.