Program to honor iGrad volunteers set

The iGrad program will host a volunteer appreciation lunch at Ivy Tech in celebration of the 15th annual National Mentoring Month.

Columbus campus Spokesman Chris Schilling says that the lunch will be at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Columbus Learning Center. He says that the event will bring together iGrad volunteer mentors and tutors. iGrad is also encouraging volunteers to bring a friend or co-worker who might be interested in volunteering with the program.

“There is a powerful mentoring effect demonstrated by research and the experiences of young people who are connected to a mentor in real life,” said Laurie Dickerson, Director of the iGrad Program. “Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social, and economic prospects for young adults, and that ultimately strengthens our community,” she added.

Schilling explains that iGrad was started as an initiative three years ago through a partnership of Bartholomew County School Corp., Flatrock-Hawcreek School Corp., the Community Education Coalition, Cummins Inc., and Ivy Tech. He says the goal of iGrad is to raise the high school graduation rate in Bartholomew County to 100% by 2017. Schilling says that iGrad serves all students facing academic barriers in grades 8 through 12. He adds that graduation coaches are available to help these students as they advance through their academic career.

Schilling notes that volunteers from the community provide mentoring and tutoring for these students. He adds that there are currently over 500 students participating in the iGrad program in Bartholomew County.

“The collaboration among our community partners has provided excellent support for the iGrad program to give students the opportunity to successfully complete high school and be well prepared for higher education or to start their careers,” said Ivy Tech Columbus Campus President Steven Combs. “We are sincerely grateful for the work of the mentors and thank our community partners for their support of the iGrad program.”

If you would like to attend the iGrad volunteer lunch, you are asked to RSVP to [email protected] or call Jennifer Steadman Ryan at (812) 374-5265. For more information on the iGrad program, visit the iGrad website at