Can an hour a week make a difference? Read Jacob’s story

Can an hour a week make a difference? Read Jacob’s story

Can one hour a week make a difference? Project Leadership asks volunteers to give one hour each week to mentor a student. One hour to listen. One hour to provide feedback and friendship. One hour of accountability. The hours add up, like grains of sand in an hourglass. While the individual hour might seem insignificant, each hour is a deposit toward a student’s future. The hours, when added together, make a significant impact. The hours add up to provide stability and perspective and hope. Read Jacob’s story, which is really Keith’s story, too. The Project Leadership team is cheering for Jacob. And thankful for Keith’s commitment to giving an hour a week. Thank you for making a difference!

As a ninth grade student at Muncie Southside High School, Jacob was matched with a Project Leadership mentor named Keith.  The two of them have developed a strong relationship over the past four years.  Jacob is now a freshman at Ball State studying Computer Science.  He and Keith stay in touch and occasionally have lunch together on campus.

While Jacob graduated with a high GPA, his SAT scores were too low for him to be admitted to Ball State right away.  He was put on the waiting list.  Jacob and Keith discussed options, called Project Leadership for advice, and eventually put together a plan that would improve Jacob’s chances of acceptance.  They also moved forward with alternatives in case that acceptance did not come through.

In the end, Jacob was able to attend Ball State and absolutely loves being there.  He admits that he has struggled his first semester.  It’s different from high school, he explains.  “In high school you just had to do what was needed to get points.  There was a lot of fluff – assignments, extra credit, and participation points – that allowed anyone who really wanted good grades to get them,” he says.  “I didn’t need to do a lot of studying. In college, however, you have to have a deep and thorough understanding of the material.  I’m just now figuring out how to do that.  Professors care, but it’s up to the student to get the job done.  It’s been stressful and a lot of work and not at all like they portray in the movies.  I’ve wanted to quit, but I know I just have to keep working.  I won’t earn the good grades I’m used to this semester, but I’m optimistic that next semester will be better.”

When talking about his mentor, Jacob explains that Keith doesn’t have all the answers and he doesn’t do the work for him, but the rock solid support he provides is invaluable.  Keith had his own set of problems to overcome, but he went all the way and made something of himself, says Jacob.  He says of his mentor: “He is a great person! He provided a straight line for me to follow and supported me when I needed it most. Having him come for lunch each week and being able to talk things over with him was the greatest thing for me!”

Would you like to impact a student like Jacob’s life? You, like Keith, can impact a student’s life. Get involved as a mentor– one hour each week can truly make a difference! Click here to learn more.

Give a gift of support to join Project Leadership in paving the way to and through college for students like Jacob. Click here for giving options.

Meet Randy – A Project Leadership Graduate

At Project Leadership, we enjoy walking side-by-side with high school students as they form and pursue their post-secondary dreams. For Marion native, Randy Sheron, that meant pursuing a Social Work degree at Ball State University after high school.


As a freshman 21st Century Scholar at Marion High School, Randy already knew that she wanted to go to college, but she also realized that it was going to take a lot of work. During her freshman year, her mom informed her about Project Leadership’s mentoring program, and asked her if it was something she would be interested in.

“After she explained to me that a mentor would be there to meet with me and help me out with school, I decided that I wanted to enter the program,” said Randy.

Randy was paired her freshman year with a mentor named Mishelle Wright. They were matched for all four years of high school, and developed a strong, trust-based relationship.

“Mishelle and I had a connection from the beginning. I was quiet and shy, and I felt like Mishelle understood because she was the same way. She made me feel comfortable. We would do a lot of different, fun things, like meet at Starbucks.”

Mishelle helped Randy keep her focus on future goals, and also helped her overcome obstacles along the way.

“Mishelle was what I would consider to be a perfect mentor. If she didn’t know the answer, she would always point me in the right direction. She was always there to encourage me, even during the hard times.”

Randy went on to graduate from Marion high school in 2012, and is now a student at Ball State University. To this day, she stays in contact with Mishelle. She is finishing up her senior year as a social work major, and decided to volunteer at Project Leadership to fulfill an academic requirement.

“Being in Project Leadership’s mentoring program was a very positive experience for me. I wanted more hands-on experience, and I felt like Project Leadership’s values aligned well with social work. It just made sense to volunteer here.”

We are happy to have you, Randy! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

If you would like to learn more about our mentoring program, click here.




The magic of mentoring is all about the Match!

The magic of mentoring is all about the Match!

A great mentor match is like any great friendship – based upon mutual interests and commitment to the relationship. But good mentoring matches don’t happen by accident!

The past six weeks have been filled with interviews of prospective new Mentors and Mentees. As our Mentoring Program team, Julie McGee and Monica Rickner, conduct interviews, the goal is to make the best mentoring match possible. They are constantly making notes and sharing observations to make strong matches. Strong matches provide a strong foundation for  students and mentors to have an enjoyable and productive mentoring experience, like the one featured in the above photo of Jay McGee with his mentee.

We encourage you to apply to apply to be matched for Project Leadership’s mentoring program. The committment is truly small in comparison to the impact you have. The sooner you apply, the better our Mentoring Program team will be to match you! Apply today!

Be a PL Mentee:
As a 21st Century Scholar, you’ve made a pledge: get good grades, stay out of trouble, and commit to a college education. A mentor is someone who can help provide support and guidance as you work toward your college goals. Project Leadership is currently accepting applications to participate in our mentoring program for 21st Century Scholars in high school. Students in the program agree to meet with their mentor once a week for one year. For more information or to submit a mentoring program application, call 765-651-0650 in Grant County or 765-896-8616 in Delaware County.

Be a PL Mentor and change two lives:
Community volunteers like you are needed to mentor local high school students as they prepare for college. Mentors use their experience and problem-solving skills to support and guide students as they work to reach their personal and academic goals. Training and resources are provided by the program. Mentors make a one-year commitment to meet with one student once a week for one hour at their high school.

One Hour
Once a Week
One Year
Two Lives Changed

For more information on Project Leadership’s mentoring program call 651-0650 or 896-8616.


What to Expect When You Host a Job Shadow Day

What to Expect When You Host a Job Shadow Day

A typical job shadow experience for a student is a half-work day, often beginning or ending with lunch.


Begin the day with an overview of your workplace. Discuss how you spend a typical day and how your personal objectives support the overall organization.


Give the student a tour of the facility.


While touring, take the opportunity to introduce your student to other workers. This will allow you to show multiple aspects of the operation and how different occupations within the workplace are all key to the overall operation.


The best job shadow experiences help a student interpret how their current day to day learning is preparing them for their future career. Discuss the skills you use every day – both skills you have learned throughout your career and those skills that began in high school.


Describe your educational path. Compare and contrast it with what is typical of your colleagues. Does your degree directly relate to your job? Great – then talk up your alma mater. Does your degree not relate? That’s ok, too. Talk about the path that brought you to where you are today.


You do not need to entertain your student all day. It is preferred that you do your regular work tasks while the student is with you. Do describe what you are doing, but do not feel the need to narrate all day. It took you years to understand your job fully, so you don’t need to explain it all in a day!

Be Hands-on

If it is prudent and safe, allow the student to participate in some of your work with you. If you have a meeting, allow the student to tag along. (You may need to remind them of the unwritten rules of meetings, but you’d do that for anyone new you brought in, right?)

Wrapping Up

At the end of your time, be sure to reflect with the student on how the day went. Share observations on how the student might be a good fit for your occupation. Allow time to ask questions, and be prepared with a few of your own to get your student thinking about a future in your career field.

Hosting a job shadow student can be an excellent way to give you a fresh perspective about your career. It’s typical to plan that you lose about an hour and a half of productivity on the day of a job shadow, but what you gain goes beyond simple productivity.

By hosting a high school student for half the day, you are giving back to the community and sharing your expertise.