Currently, about one-third of children living in Walla Walla live below the poverty line (Walla Walla, Washington Poverty Rate Data Information). Children living in poverty don’t have much to call their own. The Whitman Mentor Program provides these children with a sense of pride in having a special friend by pairing them with a Whitman student. Together, Whitman volunteers serve over 650 hours per semester in Walla Walla, spending lunch and recess with their mentees once a week to serve as positive role models.
As the intern for the Mentor Program, I (Katrina Kerrigan) work directly with intervention specialists at our various elementary schools. They’ve reported significant change in the emotional wellbeing and behavior in students who have Whitman mentors.
Whitman students’ dedication to the program is inspiring. Between papers, exams, sports, clubs, and every other commitment to which my peers devote their time, it is comfortable to exist within what’s known as the “Whitman bubble”: the safety of clean facilities, supportive faculty and peers all make it easy to forget that the challenges that others endure that are much greater than getting a ‘C’ on a paper.
The Mentor Program provides Whitman students with a unique opportunity to get off campus and help the greater Walla Walla community. As a mentor, I’ve gained insight and appreciation for this little town in Eastern Washington.
“Walla Walla, Washington (WA) Poverty Rate DataInformation about Poor and Low Income
Residents.” Walla Walla, Washington (WA) Poverty Rate Data – Information about Poor
and Low Income Residents Living in This City. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.