On August 14, College Possible Omaha onboarded a new cohort of AmeriCorps service members to Welcome Weeks – a three-week intensive training period designed to prepare them for their new roles as College Possible coaches. Over the next 10 months, AmeriCorps members will continue to receive targeted instruction to enhance both their professional and personal development while they support College Possible scholars on their journeys to and through college.
I am looking forward to meeting new people, getting to know the students I will serve, and assisting them in their college journey,” said T’Netha Bailey, college coach.
Week one began with the completion of administrative and employment requirements, but quickly dove into a detailed study of the higher education landscape and the importance of coaches developing and cultivating relationships with their students. A strong and mutually respectful connection will ensure College Possible scholars achieve academic and financial milestones, make community connections, and develop a growth mindset to ensure their success on a path to earning their college degree. The week ended with the Omaha team viewing and discussing “Unlikely,” a film that explores America’s dropout crisis through the lives of students attempting to navigate the barriers that exist in higher education.
In weeks two and three, coaches examined multiple program topics that included the importance of active listening, financial aid, curriculum and lesson planning, supporting students in a crisis, and recognizing student assets. The entirety of the intensive training was carefully planned and facilitated by the program leadership team, Recruitment and Training Manager Carly Wacker, High School Program Manager Katelyn Severt, High School Senior Program Coordinator Brian McNeil, College Program Manager Alisha Limoges and College Program Coordinator Liz Kurtz.
AmeriCorps service members also had the opportunity to participate in a two-hour interactive lecture at the Project Harmony Training Institute (PHTI). The PHTI was launched in 2007 with the “goal of ending the cycle of child abuse and neglect through education designed to increase awareness and promote understanding of the impact of abuse and neglect.” Training Specialist, Jonathan Davis, challenged College Possible coaches and leadership team members to examine various cases and the impact of their responses and activities.
I took counseling courses in college and I had to learn that child abuse and neglect happen more than we could possibly imagine, and we all have to be prepared to help those children. The lecture was a great refresher that I can help others in times of crisis,” said Angel Del Rio, a high school senior coach at Millard South High School.
While intense, the training weeks also set the foundation for coaches to begin building a rapport with one another and to engage in discovery activities meant to solidify AmeriCorps members and leadership staff as one team focused on adhering to College Possible’s mission.
Each year our AmeriCorps members receive an extensive curriculum that is aligned to both research and organizational knowledge of what we know to be effective in supporting students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds toward their goal of becoming college graduates,” said Katelyn Severt.
Earlier this summer College Possible Omaha was one of 25 organizations nationwide selected to receive a grant from Genentech, a biotechnology firm headquartered in California. The selection was based upon a nomination and proposal submitted by Greg Schardt, an Omaha based Genentech employee. In addition to the grant, College Possible was a featured nonprofit during Genentech’s Give Back Week where both employees and the company donated snacks, headphones, hand sanitizer and more for swag bags presented to AmeriCorps coaches on their first day of training. Thank you, Genentech!