megan-oby Megan Olsen
Cottonwood High School Community School Director

Last Wednesday evening, 56 sophomore students and their 56 working professional mentors met in the Cottonwood High School cafeteria, where they ate dinner together, discussed college, and asked questions of a panel of students from the University of Utah.

This was the group’s fifth in-person meeting as part of the Mentor 2.0 program, which was launched this year through a partnership between Cottonwood High School, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, Latinos in Action, and United Way of Salt Lake‘s Women’s Leadership Council.

IMG_6590In addition to these in-person meetings, which happen every 6 weeks, students and mentors email each other weekly through a secure platform, keeping up-to-date with the major events that are happening in each other’s lives. In their emails, they also discuss a structured weekly topic, geared around specific non-cognitive skills that are shown to help student success in high school and college. Skills discussed include self-advocacy, optimism, resilience, and building social capital. Students are given time to send these emails during the school day in their Latinos in Action and Leaders in Action classes.

Mentor 2.0, which was modeled after a similar program in New York called iMentor, recently got the first results of the number of communications between students and their mentors, and the numbers were off the charts—80 percent of student-mentor pairs met iMentor’s benchmark for the number of emails exchanged, and 92 percent met the benchmark for in-person meetings!

These results are significant because research shows that the academic success of children and teenagers is largely influenced by having supportive adults in their lives.

In a recent survey, students shared the following comments describing how they have changed this year as a result of working with their mentor:

“I changed a lot because I went from a student that gets Cs and Ds to a student that gets Bs and Cs.”

“My grades have improved, and my attitude has become better in my classes and at home.”

“I have done more homework than I have ever done, especially my math homework.”

“I have gained greater knowledge and have made a connection with an adult that I haven’t had before.”

“I’ve been looking into colleges often and finding the price ranges and how I can apply for scholarships…I can honestly say my mentor made me change my point of view when it comes to college.”

IMG_6513Mentors who are working with youth through Mentor 2.0 are changing the odds!

IMG_6605To find out more about the Mentor 2.0 program or
Women’s Leadership Council,
please contact Zenia Frednt at
Or, read this informative one-page info sheet!