November 17, 2022 -- Jaylah Rivera first met Claire Muhvic when she was in second grade. Rivera came to The Ohio State University’s campus as part of College Mentors for Kids, a program that partners college student mentors with elementary kids.
Students enrolled in the program visit OSU once a week after school. While on campus, they spend time with their college student mentors and engage in activities designed to encourage their interests.
“I’d never been on a college campus before this program,” Rivera, now a fifth grade student at Highland Elementary School, said. “I love it.”
Muhvic started working with the program when she was a freshman at OSU. She is a senior now, and she and Jaylah have been paired together the entire time.
“It’s been really cool to watch her grow,” Muhvic said. “She’s always been the same Jaylah, but she’s gotten a lot more confident. We’ve also grown a lot closer; we trust each other.”
Anna Kravtsova, an executive team member for the OSU chapter of College Mentors for Kids, said pairings like Rivera and Muhvic are what they strive for when partnering college and elementary students.
“We really try to prioritize the same mentors for students the entire time. Research has shown that consistency is key; you don’t want someone that’s in and out of their life,” Kravtsova explained.
For one of their activities, students worked with their college buddies to sell lemonade on the Oval. They created signs advertising their lemonade and walked around the outdoor space to drum up some business. The activity was designed to help students feel confident speaking with people.
“Each activity is about exposing them to different clubs or activities on our campus. With the lemonade stand, they can learn how to sell and approach people,” Muhvic said.
The mentors help their students complete activities, but their role is more significant than that. The mentors are present to be friends and help their students with anything they may need.
“They’re always excited to see their mentors; they know that person is their person and they can count on them for whatever they need that day,” Kravtsova said. “Whether they want to participate in the activity or just hang out and talk about something, we support them in any way we can.”
Kravtsova said the program shows the importance of positive relationships and their effect on young students.
“We have mentors in our program now that were part of College Mentors for Kids when they were a student,” she said. “I think it shows how these early exposures can influence you later in life.”
Ohio State College Mentors for Kids currently partners with three CCS schools: Highland Elementary School, Weinland Park Elementary School, and Linden STEM Academy K-6.