Project Uplift is a non-profit organization on Auburn University’s campus that opened its doors in July of 1973. Since the beginning, the organization has been devoted to reducing delinquency rates in Lee County youth by helping children to develop healthy and happy lives.
Project Uplift provides mentors to children in need at no cost to the child’s family. Each mentor meets with their mentees weekly to help them with homework, to take them to the park, to take them out for ice cream or any other various activities that the pair can think of.
The mentoring program gives back to the Lee County community by creating better futures in the lives of so many children.
“It is amazing to watch your little brother or little sister grow as an individual and strive for things like better grades in school,” said Elizabeth Tiller, a Project Uplift mentor. (Photo, right: Emily Hug and Jenny Goldschmidt with their Project Uplift mentees. Provided by: Emily Hug)
Many of the children in the program lack any extracurricular activities and struggle with their academics. Having a mentor in their lives provides a role model, a teacher and a friend that is always there. For many mentees, spending time with their mentors becomes a highlight of their week.
Becoming a mentor through Project Uplift involves attending a training session, going through an interview and participating in a background screening. The training process helps future mentors to understand the cases they will be handling and prepares them for any situation that they may face as a mentor.
It is a requirement of the program for mentors to work in pairs. Individuals may either select a friend to mentor with or Project Uplift can help them in choosing someone that is also looking for a partner.
A partnership may select anywhere from one to three children to mentor, and they are asked to spend an average of three to four hours a week with their mentee (s). Many families have multiple children in the program so quite a few partnerships are mentors to sibling mentees. The level of difficulty from mentoring one, two or three children varies, so it is up to the mentor to choose the amount they would like to take on.
“I was nervous to take two mentees at first, but it has turned out to be so rewarding and I would not have it any other way,” said Emily Hug, a project uplift mentor. “The 2 mentors to 2 mentees dynamic is really fun and never leaves a dull moment.” (Photo, left: Project Uplift mentors and their mentees at a Project Uplift skating event. Provided by: Emily Hug)
Project Uplift hosts multiple training sessions throughout the semester so students can join the organization at any time. The upcoming sessions will take place in Cary Hall on April 5, 2016, at 4pm and April 17, 2016, at 3pm.
“I went into this program wanting to make a difference in a child’s life that needed me, but I didn’t realize that the children whom I mentor would be the ones to change my life,” said Hug.