Starfish Initiative is a college access and readiness program serving economically disadvantaged high school students in Marion County, Indiana. We are currently recruiting mentors and we hope you’ll consider joining our team!
We believe that mentoring is the key to improving the educational attainment and future of today’s youth. To that end, we match every student in the Starfish program with a college-educated, volunteer adult mentor whose job is to help walk their student into college. Thanks to the guidance of their mentors, 100 percent of the Starfish Scholars who completed the four-year program have graduated from high school and 98% have been accepted by colleges or universities across Indiana — and beyond.
Starfish was founded in 2003 by a group of local businessmen, concerned that many of the academically promising but economically disadvantaged students in Indianapolis were not getting the preparation for post-secondary education they needed to be the future leaders of the community. They founded Starfish Initiative — the name taken from the famous “Starfish Story” — to help economically disadvantaged students. Currently, Starfish serves approximately 340 students in 40 public, private, charter and magnet high schools.
Improving the educational attainment of promising, economically disadvantaged students is one of the region’s greatest needs. According to a 2009 study by America’s Promise Alliance, only 30 percent of urban high schoolers in Indianapolis graduate, putting Indianapolis as 50th of the top 50 cities in the country for graduation rate. Each dropout costs the state of Indiana about $3,000 a year for the rest of their lives, a great public cost, at a time when economic growth and development and a well-educated workforce are of paramount importance.
With a commitment to long-term, community-based mentoring, leadership training and college access programming, Starfish Initiative is uniquely placed in the community to improve graduation rates, post-secondary educational access and make a difference for students and their families — one at a time.
We get this done through the primary vehicle of mentorship. Mentorship is the core, the heart of our business. We provide one-on-one mentors to ambitious teens for four years of high school to prepare them for the realities of college life. In the context of that mentoring relationship we introduce college access programming such as college visits, personality and career-affinity assessments, scholarship assistance, and funding assistance. And our mentors are successful in their work. One hundred percent of the students who complete the Starfish program graduate high school and 98% are accepted into a college or university! We are similarly proud of our persistence rate: an extraordinary 78% of our graduates are sticking with it, still in college or have attained their degree.
Our mentors are college coaches preparing our Scholars to get out there, get their degree and take charge of their life. The Scholars will likely refer to them throughout their lifetime as the people who stood beside them – the people who believed in them – the people who helped them achieve their vision of success – the people who helped change their lives forever.
Starfish Mentors make a two-year commitment to their Scholar. In those two years, we ask that you and your Scholar meet just twice a month, then call, text, or email once on the “off” weeks. Not bad. A very high percentage of our Mentors ask to remain with their Scholar the second two years of high school – for the big payoff: high school graduation and college entrance!
Please consider filling out an application today to make a world of difference to that ONE scholar!