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Program brings together students, families and SUNY Oswego mentors

SUNY Oswego’s Mentor-Scholar Program greeted more than 180 guests at its fourth annual Community Dinner on Oct. 22 at Oswego Middle School.

Mentor-Scholar is a collaborative effort between the Oswego City School District, Fulton City School District and SUNY Oswego that provides local middle and high school students with the academic and social support of college mentors throughout the academic year.

Mentoring pairs meet one-on-one twice per week after school. In return for their one-year service commitment, college volunteers earn course credit and gain valuable professional skills while making an impact in students’ lives. Currently, more than 92 undergraduates serve as mentors for more than 92 secondary students.

“One goal of Mentor-Scholar is to establish positive connections between our student participants and our undergraduate volunteers. Events like our Community Dinner are a great way to bring the campus and community together. They allow our students to not only feel like mentors are a part of their life but also a part of their family’s,” said Scott Ball, project coordinator of Mentor-Scholar.

The buffet-style spaghetti dinner, hosted free to students and their families, provided attendees with an opportunity to meet the program’s college mentors, school administration, participating teachers and community leadership.

The crowd received a warm welcome from Denise DiRienzo, director of SUNY Oswego’s Center for Experiential Learning, and Ball, thanking them for their support and highlighting the program’s benefits to both groups of participants.

Throughout the night, guests engaged with neighboring diners over a variety of activities facilitated by program staff, including conversation tablecloths, historical trivia and a pumpkin giveaway.

Event sponsors included Bosco & Geers, Byrne & Dairy, Canale’s Restaurant, Dunkin’ Donuts, Garafolo’s Imports, Hudson Dairy, Lighthouse Lanes, Pizza Hut, Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, Wegmans, the Oswego City School District and SUNY Oswego.

“It was a fantastic evening. We’re already looking forward to our next event in November, which will bring Mentor-Scholar students to SUNY Oswego’s campus. We’re excited to give our students an authentic higher education experience that will help them connect with the community and aspirations of lifelong learning,” said Jaime Glantz, assistant coordinator of Mentor-Scholar.

For more information, call Ball at 315.312.3812.