Campus Connections is a multidisciplinary service learning course at CSU where undergraduate students serve as mentors to youth. Students from over 90 majors work one-on-one with youth ranging from 11-18 to tackle a broad range of challenges. Youth may be referred by family members or our community partners, and work with mentors to establish goals for positive growth.
Student mentors spend four hours once a week with their mentee in a group setting to provide academic support and career planning, encourage positive social skills development, assist with goal setting, and implement wellness programming. Strong bonds are developed over the 12 week program between mentors and mentees. Graduate-level family therapists and experienced mentors serve as coaches to provide support and guidance for undergraduate mentors during Campus Connections.
Campus Connections was developed in response to an identified community need to better serve youth. One key component of the Campus Connections program is the partnership between Colorado State University and the Northern Colorado community, which enables the program to function within a structured, intentional, multi-level mentoring community. Campus Connections allows youth to work through personal issues and challenges with mentors and on-site family therapists to address their struggles and reach their full potential. Campus Connections is equipped to address a wide range of issues and youth from diverse backgrounds quickly become at home with the supportive mentoring community. Doctoral-level licensed Marriage and Family Therapists direct and supervise the program along with Masters-level family therapist instructors. In this way, highly-trained experts collaborate with students to serve youth effectively and in response to their unique circumstance and needs.
Campus Connections creates an environment in which each mentor-mentee pair is nested within a small mentoring group, known as a Mentor Family, where the youth are of similar ages. This unique feature of Campus Connections allows youth to positively interact with their peers while benefiting from interactions with their primary adult mentor and the community of caring adults within their Mentor Family.
Because Campus Connections is located entirely on a college campus, youth experience firsthand the possibilities of education and the importance of learning. Campus Connections is grounded in evidence-based practices for youth mentoring while also conducting rigorous research to maximize the intervention effects. Through this research program, we are developing, testing, and disseminating our unique contributions to youth mentoring nationally.
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