Debra Faulk and Steve Schultz of Wells Fargo with J.R. Haworth and students from the Corporate Mentor program.
Tampa, FL (October 30, 2012) — The Corporate Mentor Program will be able to enhance its mentoring opportunities for both USF students and local middle schoolers, thanks to a recent $25,000 gift from Wells Fargo.
Of that gift, $15,000 will go to support the Corporate Mentor Program’s relationship with Academy Prep Center, and $10,000 will go toward the program’s general operations.
“Wells Fargo is pleased to be a long-time supporter of the University of South Florida and the College of Business,” said Steve Schultz, Wells Fargo area president. “We recognize the importance of providing access to higher education and applaud the Corporate Mentor Program’s successful efforts over the years. These efforts closely align with our philanthropic focus on education, which we actively support through grants, sponsorships, and volunteer activities.”
For 25 years, the Corporate Mentor Program has been connecting first-generation students at USF — students who are the first in their families to attend college -- with professionals in the community for a yearlong mentoring relationship. These students receive a higher level of support that helps them make a successful transition from college to working life.
Over the past three years, the students themselves began mentoring fifth through eighth grade students at Academy Prep Center of Tampa, a free, private college preparatory middle school in Ybor City for children from low income families.
As part of the Academy Prep relationship, the college hosts the younger students at USF to tour the campus, sit in on classes and interact with the Corporate Mentor Program students, giving the younger students a window into the college experience. For many of the middle schoolers, it is their first view of college campus and college life.
Throughout the year, the USF students also go to Academy Prep to meet with and mentor the younger students on their home turf. A group of USF Corporate Mentor students is also putting together a series of presentations on personal finance for the Academy Prep students and hope to give students a sample retirement fund to demonstrate how interest accrues over time.
Corporate Mentor Program Director J.R. Haworth said the gift will allow the program to offer more activities with Academy Prep students. Because the partnership with Academy Prep is fairly recent, this gift from Wells Fargo will help solidify the program and also provide opportunities for further expansion.
“This really opens up doors,” he said.
In addition to the monetary gift, Haworth said Wells Fargo is interested in a true partnership, providing mentors and guest speakers starting next semester. Haworth said he sees it as a mutually beneficial relationship, giving Wells Fargo the opportunity to get to know some of USF’s best first-generation students. In addition, Wells Fargo has its own mentoring program, and Haworth said he hopes to learn from what the company is doing.
Lincoln Tamayo, head of school for Academy Prep Center of Tampa, said the school’s partnership with the Corporate Mentor Program has already had a powerful impact on his students.
“It is never too early to introduce students to what life can look like for those who educate themselves and set meaningful and realistic long-range goals,” Tamayo said. “The USF Corporate Mentor Program has provided a vital service to Academy Prep’s middle school students by connecting them with successful university students, as well as by showing them the great career opportunities that do open up to those who succeed at the university level.”