Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–When students attend their graduation, or commencement, after completing high school, they celebrate not just what they have achieved, but what they will begin now that they have a high school diploma. While many students intend to continue their education, either through a vocational program, at a community college, or at a four year college or university, some find themselves unsure of how to take their next steps. To help students bridge the gap to the next step of their educations instead of letting their dreams melt away, Aligned Impact Muscatine County, in partnership with local high schools, Muscatine Community College, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will offer its Summer Melt Mentorship program again this year. As Aligned Impact Muscatine County Director Kim Warren explained it, “when we designed the program last year, we thought, how can we fill that gap and help students when school is out and students can’t go in for help?”

Throughout the summer, Aligned Impact Muscatine County Student Success Coordinator Claudia Artola, Jesse Garcia of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Muscatine County, and Muscatine Community College Admissions Counselor Kari Hanson will provide one on one mentoring to any students who could benefit from it. All mentors can help students explore financial aid options by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA and applying for scholarships. Mentors can also help students determine what area of study would most interest them by exploring different career paths. Students unsure about how to finish paperwork for enrolling in a particular program or school can also receive assistance with that process. Anyone who need language interpretation services or support as a first generation student can also get help in those areas as well.

Any student who would like to participate in the Summer Melt Mentorship may sign up for a free appointment by calling or texting Align Impact Muscatine at 563-284-2993. They can then set up times and places to meet that work with their schedules. Artola suggests students’ high schools, Muscatine Community College, local libraries, or even the mentors’ offices as good locations to meet. Students may sign up for as many follow up appointments as then need, right up until they start their program or head off to school at the end of August. As an incentive to give the Summer Melt Mentorship a try, anyone who attends a meeting with a mentor will receive two free drink coupons to the Black Pearl Café in downtown Muscatine.

With recent high school graduates facing many big choices about how to continue their education, no matter what interests them or what career field they would like to enter, Artola hopes they will consider taking advantage of the Summer Melt Mentorship and all the community resources it can put them in touch with. “The services are here for them,” she emphasized. “We’re not just pushing for college; we’re pushing for trades and anything people what to do after high school.”

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