Remember your first college t-shirt or sweatshirt? Maybe it was a hand-me-down from your parent or an older sibling, a tour gift while visiting a prospective university, or after a local team won a national championship. Whatever the case, for many of us college evokes wonderful memories – big goals reached, fun had and lifelong friends made.

 

Unfortunately, not all Indiana high school students feel the same. Many doubt that they have the financial means, necessary support system or educational ability to attend college and complete a four-year degree. That’s why the work of United Way agency, Starfish Initiative is so critical. By pairing high school scholars with college-educated mentors, Starfish assists students of promise overcome the barriers of poverty and develop leadership skills that prepare them to graduate from high school and college.

 

At United Way, we fight for the health, education, financial stability and basic needs of every member of our community. So, that’s why United Way LINC was so excited to partner with Starfish Initiative to help reach their goal of “filling empty caps and gowns” by improving graduation rates in Central Indiana.

 

At the German Beer and College Gear event, LINC members and friends gathered at nearby Centerpoint Brewing Co. to collect over 100 college branded items to donate to Starfish Scholars. LINC’ers assembled snack packs and penned notes of encouragement to accompany the gifts with the hope that each Starfish student would know that they had a whole group of friends (not too far removed from college days themselves) believing in their journey – and cheering them on!

 

 

 

 

But what made it all worthwhile was the response from Starfish Scholars in return:

Attending the college preparation night answered a lot of my questions about attending college after high school and the college gear and notes of encouragement have me excited and confident about taking that next step I’m really grateful to know there are so many who are cheering me on in my plans to become both a high school and college graduate. Thank you!

 

United Way LINC harnesses the power of individuals under 30 to care for the common good. We are good deeds and a good time. Together, we fight to help kids in our community succeed in school, families gain stability and neighbors overcome hardships. LINC gives young professionals an opportunity to make a real difference, share their knowledge, apply their skills, volunteer and network. Want to get involved? Join us at our next event! Visit uwci.org/linc or email Ashleigh Resetarits (Ashleigh.resetarits@uwci.org) for more information.