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Affinity Mentoring launches “100 Days, 100 Mentors” campaign aimed at equitable opportunities for students

LA Johnson

The campaign is a way to bolster volunteer numbers ahead of the upcoming school year. The nonprofit works with kids in kindergarten through eighth grade to create equitable opportunities through mentorship.

100 days, 100 mentors -- that’s the goal Affinity Mentoring set at the beginning of July. The nonprofit works with students in kindergarten through eighth grade, across six partner schools in Kent County, to foster intentional relationships, instill confidence and create equitable opportunities through mentorship.

“Yeah that’s definitely what our mission is about and one of the ways that we do that is we serve an underserved population. A lot of the families in that community don’t aren’t able to afford things that for most people are easily within reach, different community resources, different programming,” Executive Director, Sharalle Ankrah said.

None of the mentor/mentee pairings at Affinity Mentoring happen by chance. Ankrah explained, the mentorship program focuses on one-on-one relationships between students and adults that have been carefully matched up to compliment both parties. However, as each year brings more students, it can be a challenge if there aren’t enough mentors to go around.

“At the end of the school year we usually have about 150 students who are on the waiting list, and it breaks our hearts to say ‘we didn’t have enough mentors to apply this year,’” she said.

The 100 days, 100 mentors campaign is searching for diverse adults, ages 18 and up, who can dedicate one hour, once per week to a local student. All volunteers must pass a criminal background check and be approved by Grand Rapids Public Schools.

If individuals want to get involved, but don’t have time to dedicate, Ankrah said community members are welcome to become a Mentor Match Sponsor. These volunteers make a monthly financial contribution to Affinity Mentoring, helping students academically and emotionally.

Applications for both mentorship options are online at AffinityMentoring.org.

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