IU Indiana Kids program
Teachers, principals and parents know the looks they get when they talk to their teens about college or other serious topics.
But when IU Southeast has tried those same discussions with college students, they have found the teens are suddenly listening, program coordinator Emily Seay said.
The information is no different from what teachers or parents talk about with their kids, but students are more likely to listen when college students are involved, she said.
Now, she and her team are booked every Friday for the next two months with plans to visit classes and schools in their area.
They used social media posts, visits to local schools, donut-themed events, workshops and discussions to reach more than 200 middle and high school students in 2018 as part of the IU Indiana Kids program.
Emily, a former high school teacher, used her own personal connections and visited more than a dozen schools to build the Indiana Kids program in her area in southern Indiana.
Their programs have different focuses for different age groups, with high schoolers learning about how to apply for college, getting financial aid and choosing a career path in their Donuts for Degrees sessions, and Emily hopes to keep those going, getting more in-depth as students get closer to college.
For middle school students, the Donuts and Discussion program is a bit different, since those students are not as close to college age. One local school had asked Emily and her student mentors to talk to kids about bullying, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. At the end of the first session, students were asked to write two sentences, saying something nice about a classmate and those were very impactful to students.
More than 50 students participated in the bullying-focused Donuts and Discussion event in September, and nearly 50 more have participated in two college and career readiness workshops hosted in August and September.
Future events are filling up with individual classes, and in some cases, entire grades. Their goal is to continue and grow the workshops, while also looking to build the Indiana Kids tutoring program by referring students to the service when they participate in other activities.
The IU Indiana Kids program, launched from the IUPUI campus, is a collaboration between Serve Indiana and seven Indiana University campuses (IUPUI, IU Bloomington, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast) providing free tutoring, mentoring, college and career resources to students in grades six through twelve.