PJ Carter '09
On organizing a mentoring program in Lorain, OH: "The culture of Oberlin encourages students to get deeply involved in what they are passionate about and to make a difference."
Oberlin is the exact opposite of everything I previously expected college would be. The amount of student involvement here is something I've never seen before. The campus is extremely passionate about making life better for everyone, whether by addressing issues of poverty, education, sustainability, or even just registering people to vote.
This spring, I organized a tutoring/mentoring program in my hometown of Lorain, OH. Twenty-one students have volunteered to help the Gear Up program by mentoring and tutoring 9th and 10th graders at the local high schools. Helping students become the first in their families to graduate not only from high school but from college is a beautiful sight. Many students in Lorain do not have a stable life at home, or are frequently moving from home to home. We work to encourage disadvantaged students to be the first in their families to graduate from a four year college and to increase their quality of life. In the city of Lorain, only 4% of the population has a college degree; this figure is less than one-fifth of the national average.
Oberlin has opened my eyes and opened a large spectrum of doors for me. In the process, it has also shown me how rewarding it can be to provide options to those who may otherwise not have many opportunities. It has been immensely gratifying to be able to provide a helping hand to the community I was raised in. The culture of Oberlin encourages students to get deeply involved in what they are passionate about and to make a difference. Oberlin provides a great education to students in the classroom, but what really makes Oberlin special is how it teaches students to become better people.
Submitted by PJ Carter '09
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