By Meleseini Lotoaniu, MVLA Scholar majoring in English at UC Davis, May 5, 2022
MVLA Scholars provides scholarships, mentoring, career guidance and a community network to low income first-generation college students. An important component of the organization’s work begins in the high school, with a mentoring program that guides students in the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program through the college application process.
MVLA Scholars created the AVID mentor program in collaboration with the Mountain View and Los Altos AVID teachers. They realized students need additional personalized support while applying to college and provide AVID students with mentors who help with the process, including college selection, writing essays and obtaining financial aid.
Candace Lublin, who runs the mentor program for the 39 Mountain View High School (MVHS) AVID seniors, started as a mentor. “I understood what the mentoring program was designed to accomplish,” she said. “I truly valued the goals of the AVID program, and I appreciated the opportunity to contribute to it by directing the resources of our mentoring program.” MVHS also has a mentor program for AVID juniors, led by coordinators Ellen Petrill, Anita Matthew, and Manish Shah.
The coordinators for the 55 AVID seniors at Los Altos High School, Dale Tritschler and Caroline Small, expressed the significance of the work they do to set up students for success in college.
“I’ve had all kinds of volunteer roles at my children’s schools but it’s a different feeling of fulfillment and value that you get when you’re doing something like this,” Dale said, “where you have a meaningful connection to a student.”
The AVID mentoring programs help students close the educational achievement gap for first- generation and minority students. The reward for this goal is at the end of the year, when students graduate and are prepared for success in college.
“Kids don’t choose their [public] high school. College is their first real decision they get to make for themselves,” Caroline said. “And if we do this right, and we give them that power, then they make these good decisions. It’s an honor to be a part of that and help students step into that adulthood. It’s a true privilege to do this.”
Interested in becoming an AVID mentor? Contact us