The FISD Achieve Mentoring Program is pairing students with caring
and committed volunteers from across the community to provide support and mentorship to PK-12 students.
“Mentoring is hugely impactful and something that helps kids to connect to our community and vice versa,” said Managing Director of Guidance and Counseling Services Stephanie Cook. “Each year, students across the District express an
interest in having a connection with more adults they can trust, and this program is open to all students, no matter their academic background or grade level.”
Mentorship has existed in several pockets around the school district for many years, and the District is thrilled to bring renewed focus and leadership to these efforts through federal grant funding.
The new program is led by Mentoring Coordinator Randall Ford, who is coordinating comprehensive support services for students and families in need across the District.
“We are looking for people in the community who are caring, committed, consistent and well-rounded,” Ford said. “We want someone who is not afraid to be authentic and open to sharing their own life experiences.”
Once students are referred to the program and parent consent is received, students complete questionnaires that help guide the process of finding a compatible mentor.
After completing a background check and training, mentors meet with students for 30 minutes each week throughout the school year. While most mentors have one student, some have elected to serve several students. The next training sessions are Wednesday,
Feb. 23 and Tuesday, March 1. Check the District website for any upcoming dates.
George Byrnes is an Achieve mentor, FISD parent and engineer who donates his time each week in support of his paired student. He has volunteered for several years.
“Frisco is a nice area, but there are plenty of kids in the District who don’t have the most ideal home situation and with the gift of a lunch hour, anyone can help make a big impact in a child’s life,” Byrnes said. “You
don’t have to travel far to find someone in need that you can help set on a solid path.”
Ford explained that being present, showing the students their full attention and being a great listener are the key things a mentor will provide.
“Mentors do not need to fill the role of a counselor or social worker,” Ford said, “and these students do not necessarily need that kind of support.
“They are simply children in our community who would benefit from connecting with someone who can provide them encouragement, an additional perspective and a listening ear.”
When asked if there is a limit to the number of mentors, Ford smiled and said, ”We currently have 73 campuses and more than 65,000 students, I’m certain we can find a place for anyone who wants to give their time to children in our community.”
Parents who are interested in having their child paired with a community member should contact their child’s campus counselor.