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Wichita Mentoring Program To Expand Services After Receiving National Grant


Rise Up For Youth will receive $125,000 from a national philanthropic group.

The high school mentoring program in Wichita helps students escape generational poverty.

Mentors focus on academic achievement and building students' self-esteem and character. Students are encouraged to lead their peers while being accountable for the decisions they make.

Ariel Rodriguez, the program's director, said the grant money will be used for the 2019-20 academic year. It will allow Rise Up for Youth to hire three new full-time mentors.

Rodriguez said the funding from the national group Stand Together will allow his program to mentor 600 students, double the current number. 

Rise Up for Youth mentors currently serve five Wichita schools. Rodriguez said he plans to use the grant money to begin serving a sixth school in the fall of 2019.

“We know our youth are facing barriers, and so we want to make sure our student who have adult-like responsibilities just have a good group of support," he said. "So we provide those mentors to make sure they stay on track with their grades and on track to graduate high school on time, as well as provide meaningful exposure opportunities."

He said 100 percent of high schoolers mentored through the program graduated last year, and they all went on to secondary education.

Audrey Korte is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.