MILFORD — The Milford High School Connections Program is seeking mentors for the 2022-23 school year.
“The program is designed to help students who will be first-generation college students, so mentors should have knowledge of the college application process and have some involvement within the community,” program co-Chair Michael Hazeltine said.
The program, which began in 2018 and is a collaboration between Milford High School and the United Way of Tri-County, connects professional mentors with freshmen and sophomores, and works with them until graduation, he said.
Ideally, mentors and students would meet every other week, but some do so more or less frequently, he said.
Each mentor should get an idea of what the student’s interests are during the first two years of school, then help them find colleges and universities best suited for them, Hazeltine said.
Students have received assistance with getting jobs, figuring out the financial process and costs of college and anything else they needed help with, he said.
The school was able to identify at least 15 students who showed academic prowess and would be first-generation college students who would benefit from having a mentor, Hazeltine said.
“Oftentimes, the families haven’t gone through the process before,” he said. “Parents want to help but don't have the same sense of what they can do, need to do or what resources are available.”
The program's first batch of students is graduating this weekend . They have been accepted into universities like UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell, Hazeltine said.
“It’s rewarding to see the students grow and see the program grow,” he said.
Kauan Ferreira was among the program's first group of students. His parents moved from Brazil to Framingham more than 20 years ago, said Ferreira, who will attend UMass Amherst this fall to study computer science.
Each of his parents has a high school diploma from Brazil, he said, but couldn’t find well-paying jobs in America. He has cousins who have gone to college but he didn’t feel close enough to anyone to ask specific questions regarding the application process, he said.
His parents primarily speak Portuguese, and are too busy taking care of the family to take an in-depth look at the American college application process, he said.
“It goes beyond just deciphering English to Portuguese,” Ferreira said. “The whole system is very complicated.”
His mentor was a person he could go to whenever he needed help and to set up meetings with his parents that fit their schedules, he added.
He’s seen his friends go to mentors for help outside of school and jobs as well. Another mentor helped him find a job at a local drive-in theater, Ferreira said.
“It’s like when you go bowling and the little railings go up because you don’t want it to go into the gutter,” he said.
Individuals interested in applying to be a mentor may email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.