The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

UTC Students Mentor in Start Something Program

Seven students have successfully completed the Start Something Program, a mentoring curriculum developed by the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Target Corporation, and locally supported by the American Family Institute, Inc., the UTC Psychology Department and Hamilton County Juvenile Justice Department.

Interested individuals ages 11-18 are eligible to enroll in the Start Something Program, a volunteer effort that assists participants in identifying personal values, promotes self-esteem and positive motivational thinking habits, identifies goals and interests, develops basic communication skills, and improves school attendance.

UTC students like Chantay Golson serve as mentors and co-facilitators of the program. This full-time student, holding a full-time job at Convergys Corporation, aspires to become a psychologist.

"I served as a co-facilitator in the Saturday morning program, assisting students with service projects. Upon successful completion of the projects, these students were eligible for a scholarship program that relates to the students’ interests," Golson said.

The group visited the Mary Walker Towers, playing bingo with the residents and distributing prizes. At the Hunter Museum, students began to learn an appreciation of art. A talent show at Brainerd High School became a springboard for networking with entertainment professionals.

"One girl sang who is interested in becoming a soloist, and the Start Something Program facilitated a phone conversation with a top Los Angeles producer," Golson said.

Another young woman in the program who is interested in fashion had an opportunity to talk to a designer in Atlanta, while a third student interested in studying law spoke with an attorney, Goldson said.

The UTC students receive three hours of academic credit for every 100 hours of service in the program.

"Student/Mentor participation has produced astounding results as the Start Something participants truly respect their mentors guidance and relate to the age group successfully," according to Jerry P. Bundy, Jr., Community Prevention Coordinator, American Family Institute, Inc.