McDorman: Mentorship programs play crucial role for local students

Community Commentary

One thing we can do to help produce a better outcome for many of the students in our local schools is by becoming a mentor.

There are many programs to choose from, but today I want to focus our attention on the Clark State Scholars high school program. The Clark State Foundation and several school districts in Clark and Champaign counties proudly partner to support students in high school and help prepare them for college.

Scholars are admitted to the program in eighth grade and participate in an immersive, pre-college experience that includes visits to Clark State College twice per year to explore in-demand careers and programs. In addition, students receive tickets to special Clark State College events and receive access to Clark State College’s tutoring services.

Upon high school graduation and completion of the program, scholars earn a fully funded three-year scholarship to Clark State College.

So, why should we get involved in Clark State’s local mentorship program? Because mentorship plays a crucial role in each of the scholar’s personal and professional development. Here are some key reasons why mentorship is important:

1) Knowledge and Skill Transfer: Mentors have valuable expertise and experience in a particular field. They can pass on their knowledge, skills, and insights to mentees, helping them acquire new capabilities and avoid potential pitfalls. This transfer of knowledge accelerates the learning process and enables mentees to make beter decisions and progress faster in their chosen paths.

2) Guidance and Support: Mentors provide guidance and support to mentees, offering advice, feedback and encouragement. They can help mentees navigate challenges, set goals, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles. Having someone with experience to turn to for guidance can boost mentees’ confidence and resilience, enabling them to face difficulties with a more positive mindset.

3) Personal Development: Mentorship goes beyond acquiring technical skills. Mentors can provide mentees with insights into professional etiquete, work-life balance, leadership qualities and personal development. They can serve as role models, demonstrating effective communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Through mentorship, mentees can develop important soft skills that are often not taught in traditional educational settings.

4) Confidence and Motivation: Having a mentor who believes in their abilities and supports their aspirations can significantly boost mentees’ confidence. Mentors can provide encouragement during challenging times, helping mentees stay motivated and focused on their goals. This support can make a tremendous difference in mentees’ self-belief and their ability to overcome obstacles.

5) Long-term Perspective: Mentors can offer a broader perspective on career paths, industry trends and long-term goals. They can help mentees think strategically about their future, identify potential opportunities and make informed decisions. By sharing their own experiences, mentors can help mentees avoid common pitfalls and make choices that align with their values and aspirations.

Overall, mentorship provides area students with a nurturing environment for learning, growth and development. It facilitates the transfer of knowledge, offers guidance and support, expands networks, and fosters personal and professional advancement. Engaging in mentorship can be an enriching experience for both mentors and mentees, leading to mutual growth and success.

To become a Clark State Scholar Mentor, simply click this link: Clark State Scholars Mentor, call 937-328-6079 or email

Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity to make a real difference in a student’s life in our community.

Mike McDorman is president & CEO of the the Greater Springfield Partnership and is a News-Sun Community Commentary contributor.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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