• North Texas Food Bank!

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 3/2/2014 4:00:00 PM
    As you may remember, we are coming up to the North Texas Food Back service event.  Please reach out to talk to your mentee about coming.  This flier will be distributed at their school.  If you have any questions, send me an email!
    NTFB Flier
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  • Notes from the College Transition Call

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 2/28/2014 12:00:00 PM

    On February 20th, the Director of Alumni Programs, April Bowman, presented to mentors about the biggest challenges faced by our scholars when they transition to college.  There are three buckets: financial, academic, and social.  The list below includes potential conversation topics and action items that you can chose to do to support you mentee. 


    Challenges and potential conversation topics:

    ·         Scholarships

    ·         Navigating the office

    ·         Asking questions

    ·         Renewal of financial aid

    ·         Money management

    ·         On-time payments to avoid holds on registration

    ·         Balance of work/school/life

    ·         Internships

    To do’s:

    ·         Help scholars make a budget

    ·         Walk through tips on calendaring due date/reminders to meet deadlines (payments, etc)

    ·         If interested in providing  graduation gifts give items that are appropriate/useful (gift cards, dorm items, etc)

    ·         Assist scholar with scholarship searches

    o   www.collegeboard.com

    o   www.collegenet.com

    o   www.fastweb.com

    o   www.scholarships.com

    o   www.scholarshipmoneky.com

    o   http://www.zinch.com/scholarships

    o   http://www.free-4u.com

    o   www.hsf.net


    Challenges and potential conversation topics:

    ·         Finishing strong last semester of high school

    ·         Submitting all necessary materials to confirm attendance

    ·         Scheduling, academic advising, balanced course load

    ·         Utilizing on campus resources – professor office hours, forming study groups, tutoring centers

    ·         Getting to know your professor

    ·         Knowing your grade at all times

    ·         Importance of completing and doing well in class on assignments and tests

    ·         GPA

    ·         Timely withdrawals from courses

    ·         Asking for help


    To do’s:

    ·         Look over catalog of course offerings w/ scholar to help them get an idea of classes to take

    ·         Discuss academic strengths and challenges so they choose their 1st semester courses accordingly

    ·         Strongly recommend that they meet with an academic advisor before choosing class each semester

    ·         Attend and/or drop off student at orientation

    ·         Research college majors offered w/scholar and research to possible/relevant careers


    Challenges and potential conversation topics:

    ·         Sense of belonging

    ·         Culture Shock

    ·         Home Sickness

    ·         Family

    ·         Transition and feelings of loss

    ·         Getting involved on campus

    ·         Roommate

    ·         Meeting new people/networking/building relationships

    ·         Study abroad

    To do’s:

    ·         Go online and create list of clubs w/ scholar

    ·         Provide ride to orientation and/or 1st day of college

    ·         Send care packages

    ·         Show scholar how to Skype

    ·         Talk about your experience in meeting new people


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  • Upcoming Events!

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 2/4/2014

    Great news!  We received about 20 applications for the DLC HERO mentor scholarship.  The committee is review these and will have the results in about 8 weeks!  Thanks for all your hard work!  Also, I have two exciting activities for you to put on your calendars.


    Additional Training!


    For those of you who are working with seniors, you might be wondering “What do I do now that applications are done? How can a help my mentee take the next step?”  April Bowman, Uplift Education's Road to College Director of Alumni Programs, has offered to host a training on Thursday, February 20th from 6-7 PM.  During the call, she will be discussing common issues that our scholars face and impactful ways you can help. I will also be on the line to answer questions. As requested, we are going to make this training a conference call so more people can attend.  The phone information is below.  If you would rather attend in person, please let me know. 



    1 (267) 507-0400





    More Community Service!


    Help your scholar rack up community service hours and help the community!  On Saturday, March 22 from 8:30-11:30 AM, we will be volunteering at the North Texas Food Bank.  We did this last year and both mentors and mentees had a blast!  Our shift begins at 9AM, but we want to get there early to take pictures and check in.  While we are there, we will be sorting through food, so please where comfortable shoes.


    The NTFB has two warehouses, both located in South Dallas near Cockrell Hill and Loop 12. I won’t know which warehouse we will be stationed at until 4 business days before the shift. I will let you know. Free parking is available for all volunteers.  I will have you RSVP closer to the date and have students sign permissions slips. I wanted you to get this on your calendar ASAP.


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  • February Fun Activities

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 2/3/2014 8:00:00 AM

    Theme – Career/Major Exploration: Making the connection between college and career is critical for the success of our students.  Students who are working to accomplish a career goal are more likely to persist in college.  This month, help your mentee explore career opportunities. Do you love your job? How did you end up doing the job you have now?  Was your career path well-articulated and thought out, or did you experiment with different careers.  Tell your mentee about your journey.   Talk to your students about their favorite classes and interests.  Try to make connections between school and career.   

    Senior Year Checklist Items:

    ·         Attend financial aid workshop

    ·         Complete financial aid application to meet priority deadlines


    In-Person Activity Suggestions:

    Personality tests are fun and informative, especially for adolescents who are just learning about themselves.  Jump on the UPenn Authentic Happiness site or the Myer’s Briggs site to take some free tests.  After you and your mentee share your results, help your mentee see how these strengths can translate into a great career!

    Spectically, on the UPenn Authentic Happiness web site, take the Values in Action Signature Strengths test.  Talk to your mentee about his or her signature strength.  Challenge them to try to use it over the next week in school.  Work with them to see how they can use this strength to overcome challenges.

    Bring your scholar to work. Even if you don’t think your job is extremely exciting, your scholar might.  Many of our kids have never been in a professional office.  You don’t have to plan a special day.  Just give them a tour and tell them what you do each day.  All of our schools close at 2:30 on Wednesday, so it’s a great time to bring your scholar by the office!

    Use the “Making Decisions” worksheet at the end of this workbook to help you mentee connect the positive experiences in his or her life to the potential career and college opportunities. Mapping out a path can make college seem less daunting.

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  • Financial Aid Month!

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 1/10/2014 12:00:00 PM

    Theme – Financial Aid: Did you know college tuition and fees rose over 400 percent between 1982 and 2007.  That’s not even factoring in the cost of textbooks and room and board.  Add in the occasional late night study pizza and the cost of college can become intimidating.  The majority of Uplift students will require some financial assistance to attend college. January is a great time to work with your mentee on researching and applying to scholarships.  There are three common forms students may need to fill out to apply for financial aid:

    1.    FAFSA – The free application for federal aid.

    2.    TAFSA - The application for aid in Texas.  Undocumented students are unable to apply for federal aid, but can apply for Texas state aid.

    3.    CSS Profile – This is an application that is used by private endowments.  It provides a complete picture of a student’s and family’s income and asked for very specific details. 

    Senior Year Checklist Items:

    ·         Meet with Inspire Counselor and your guardians to work on financial aid application(s)

    ·         Submit Gates and Dell Scholarships by January 11th (if applicable).  The Due Date is January 15th!!!

    HERO Sponsored Events:

    Attend an on-campus financial aid workshop with your mentee. Ask your school liaison or mentee when these workshops will be taking place. 

    In-Person Activity Suggestions:.

    Research scholarship opportunities together and develop a plan to apply to them. There are hundreds of organizations that provide scholarships. Many are merit based, but some are more quirky.  For example, there are scholarships for students who are left handed, who are shorter than 4’10” or who have a particular last name.  Help your mentee find some great scholarships that they qualify for.  Check the resource section below for databases. 

    Ask you mentee if you can visit him or her at home.  This is a great way to reconnect with the scholars parents, too.

    Many high school students go to college without understanding how to create a budget.  Scholars won’t know there exact costs until they are accepted to school and review their aid packages, but it’s not too soon to start discussing budgeting.  Help your scholar outline different life expenses.  Brainstorm how much money the scholar will need to sustain their desired life style.  Help them bucket the budget into needs and wants. 

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  • DLC Scholarship for HERO Mentees

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 12/10/2013 3:00:00 PM

    I have some WONDERFUL news that I am excited to share with you all.  Your senior mentees are eligible for a special scholarship reserved for scholars who are active in the HERO mentor program!


    The Dallas Links Club would like to offer $4,000 scholarships ($500 each semester for 4 years) to 2 scholars (one boy and one girl) who are active in the HERO mentor program.  DLC is comprised of young professionals committed to the principles of servant leadership and to improving the educational landscape in Dallas. A majority of DLC's time is dedicated to serving as mentors within Uplift's HERO Mentor Program. DLC also hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money for the DLC scholarship fund.


    This year, the group wanted to open up the application to senior scholars in the HERO program.  In order to qualify, scholars must:

    ·         Be an active participant in the HERO Mentor Program: For example, participate in at least 2 HERO program events, attend monthly meetings with Mentors, and maintain consistent communication with your Mentor

    ·         Maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA

    ·         Complete the attached application DLC Scholarship App

    ·         Submit a letter of recommendation from his or her own Mentor


    Part of the application is a letter of recommendation! The letter should focus on your relationship with your mentee and what sets them apart as an individual. I will post some tips about writing a letter for recommendation on the webpage. Filling out this application together would be a great activity!  Some of you are just beginning your relationship, but don’t let that dissuade you and the scholar from applying.  If your scholar is going to apply, please email me the letter by 5 pm on January 31st. (HERO@uplifteducaiton.org)


    I have sent the application to the counselors on each campus, but you may also want to speak to your mentee directly about applying.

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  • December Stress!

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 12/2/2013 7:05:00 AM

    Theme – Stress Relief: At this point in the year, seniors are often feeling extreme stress.  Not only do they have a heavy workload and college applications are due, they are facing many difficult decisions about their futures.  The ability to cope with stress successfully is a key strategy to ensure success in college. How do you deal with stress?  Do you exercise, schedule alone time, or talk to your friends/family?  Share your stress coping methods with your mentee and help them brainstorm.  Provide them with the opportunity to vent and open up.  Perhaps they are stressed about all that they have on their plate.  Help them develop a plan to get it all done.  Are they worried about next year? Talk to them about the exciting possibilities that they future may hold for them.

    Senior Year Checklist Items:

    ·         Complete and submit all college apps

    ·         Over break gather all tax documents to prepare for financial aid workshops starting in January

    ·         Complete draft of Dell and Gates scholarships for qualified students

    HERO Sponsored Events:

    Saturday, December 14 at 8:00 AM: Clean Up White Rock Lake!

    We will be meeting between 8 to 9 a.m. at the FTLOTL office in Casa Linda Plaza, Buckner & Garland Road (facing Buckner).  The White Rock Lake association will have a yummy “continental breakfast” featuring hot Starbucks coffee, bread pudding from Another Broken Egg Cafe, delicious orange juice and rich chocolate milk from Oak Farms Dairy, refreshing Rain Fresh bottled water, granola bars and more.  They also provide all of your Spruce-Up supplies, including trash bags, recycling bags (courtesy of City of Dallas Recycling Department), and latex-free gloves.


    In-Person Activity Suggestions:

    Continue to attend campus workshops or schedule an appointment with your student to work on college applications.  Most documents can be submitted to colleges on line, but some colleges require packets to be mailed in.  Ask your student if you can help prepare these packets. Offer to take them to the post office, if needed.

    Sometimes the biggest combatant to stress is talking.  Listen to you mentee talk about the stress he or she is feeling.  Take notes and help compile a list.  Then, help them prioritize and make a plan to get everything done.

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  • FASFA Webinar

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 11/21/2013 7:00:00 PM
    Hi Mentors,
    In January, those of you paired with seniors will start to hear a lot about the financial aid process.  The first step in this process is to have students fill out the FAFSA.  Typically this process is managed by school counselors and parents because of the private financial information required.  That being said, you may want to encourage your mentee to attend this webinar.  If your scholars doesn't have web access at home, perhaps the two of you can meet at a Starbucks and watch it together on your laptop!
    The webinar is hosted by NACAC, the National Association of College Admissions Counseling.  You can register for the event here:
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  • Thank You Happy Hour

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 11/12/2013 2:00:00 PM

    Please join the Friends of Uplift for a joint Happy Hour with Uplift's HERO mentors!


    For those of you who may not know, Friends of Uplift is a group of community leaders dedicated to expanding awareness of the Uplift Education network.  Uplift's HERO mentors work directly with our high school juniors and seniors to help prepare students for college. We are excited to host our first joint event for these two important groups of supporters. 


    Come meet fellow Uplift volunteers and advocates while enjoying food and drink.  Our event is generously sponsored by Project Management Services, Inc. 


    Tuesday, December 10, 2013


    Veritas Wine Room

    2323 N. Henderson Ave.

    Suite 103

     Dallas, TX 75206


    Check your email for an invite and to RSVP.  If you didn't receive the message, just email Erin at HERO@uplifteducation.org



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  • Supplemental Essays and November Activities!

    Posted by Erin Hearn at 11/4/2013 7:00:00 AM

    Theme – College Applications – Supplements: Common App Colleges like to have a personal touch on the application. Many ask students to write a supplemental essay specific to the school.  The average essay is a short paragraph ranging from 100 characters to 200 words.  Although each school has the freedom to write their own prompts, most schools ask “Why do you want to go to XXXX?”  This essay prompt is vital as it illustrates demonstrated interest in the specific college campus. College Counselors often need assistance with guiding students through these prompts as they are unique to each student and their interest.  Help your mentee write a stellar essay and help them proof read.  Remember to research the school, find out what makes the school unique, and tailor the essay.  This is the part of the application to appeal to each school and explain why your mentee is the best fit for their campus. 

    Check out the resource section for a training on how to help guide your scholar through The Why Essay!

    Senior Year Checklist Items:

    ·         Finalize extracurricular prompt for Common App and upload to Common App

    ·         Continue to work on supplements and submit at least 5 completed supplements to College Counselor.

    ·         Follow up with teachers and counselor to make sure recommendation letters are finalized and uploaded in Naviance by November 30th

    ·         Submit UT Austin application by November 26th

    HERO Sponsored Events:

    Attend an on-campus workshop with your mentee. Ask your school liaison or mentee when these workshops will be taking place. 

    In-Person Activity Suggestions:

    Bring in Thank You notes and help your scholar write thanks yous to the teachers that submitted letters of recommendation.  While you are at it, why not write one to someone who has had an impact on your life? Perhaps this will open up a conversation about the importance of gratitude and good manners.

    November means Thanksgiving! Different cultures have different ways to celebrate this holiday.  Consider bringing in some of your favorite Thanksgiving food to share with your mentee during lunch. 

    November is also a time to reflect on the things you are thankful for in life.  For one week, you and your mentee should write down one thing each day that you are thankful for.  Share these at your next meeting.

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