MIDWAY, Ky. — In late January, Midway University received a $15,670 grant from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky (TMMK) to support its Providing Academic Transitions to Higher Education (PATH) Mentoring program. This is the third consecutive year that Midway has received the grant, bringing Toyota’s total investment in the program to over $47,000.
PATH mentors, all current Midway University students, assist underrepresented high school students (mentees) toward completion of post-secondary education. Implemented in 2012, the program has grown and now provides 42 student mentors to serve 110 mentees from Leestown Middle School, Dunbar High School, Woodford County Middle School and Woodford County High School.
“Toyota’s generous support over the past several years has enabled Midway’s students to build strong relationships with young people who need guidance and encouragement as they transition to the next stage in their life,” said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Stivers, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Midway University.
During monthly meetings, mentors provide workshops to the mentees on planning for college, life skills and the college application process. In order to give ownership of the program to the mentees, the mentors work with them to plan activities and listen to their needs. Above all, mentors seek to keep the mentees motivated, providing encouragement by sharing the struggles they experience themselves and how they persevered to overcome.
To provide continuity in programming, each year of the program is given a theme. Past themes have been Women’s Issues, Diversity, Leadership, and Community Activism. The 2016-17 theme is Cultural Pride. Teachers have observed a rise in bullying over the past year of traditionally underrepresented students, especially those of Hispanic heritage. To help address the issue, mentors spend time each month working with students on self-confidence, activism and the value of diversity. This year’s program will culminate with presentations on participants’ cultures, heritages and/or identities. The groups are using different mediums for this project, including a video compilation and a mural.
“Through participation as a mentor, our students receive institutional aid and are learning the importance of “paying forward” what is being invested in their success,” said Emily Evans, Director of Multicultural and International Affairs at Midway. “This program is deeply rooted in the mission that has guided Midway for 170 years: providing service to others and making education accessible to all.”