State Farm Ensures Education with Gift to St. Edward's University
They are called mentors, but to some they are nothing short of heroes. For several hours every week, a group of 60 students from St. Edward's University's Community Mentor Program (CMP) works with hundreds of Austin-area at-risk elementary school children. The mentors guide, coach, and tutor children to help them succeed academically and socially. Part of a nationally recognized AmeriCorps program, CMP provides mentors with a small stipend to be used toward college expenses, but the mentors' personal rewards are much greater.
According to the Intercultural Development Research Association, every year approximately 52 percent of Hispanic students and 46 percent of African-American students drop out of Texas schools. With such soaring dropout rates, the Community Mentor Program fills an important void by targeting services to area schools with high percentages of low-performing students. The nationally recognized program depends upon gifts from the private sector to help leverage federal grants and resources to support and sustain the program.
"When business and educators can work together, we all benefit," said Paul McClain, human resources manager for State Farm Insurance Companies in Austin. For the second time in less than a month, the State Farm Companies Foundation has shown its support of educational outreach programs with a $15,000 gift to the St. Edward's University Community Mentor Program. Earlier this month, State Farm also donated $25,000 to the Austin Prime Time After School Program to provide after school classes and activities at three low-income area schools in the Austin Independent School District (AISD).
"State Farm has taken a national leadership role in promoting service-learning programs across the country, and its support of CMP is a fine local example of the company's dedication to improving the educational experience of public school children," said Donna Hagey, CMP program coordinator. "We really depend on this kind of support so all students participating in the program continue to reap the tremendous benefits that come from the mentoring experience."
The Community Mentor Program was founded in 1990 to complement the existing College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which helps make college affordable for children of migrant farm workers. CMP was born out of the CAMP students' desire to give something back to the community, and offers them a way to offset the cost of a college education through community service.
State Farm is the leading insurer of cars and homes in the United States. The company's 80,000 employees join 16,300 agents in servicing more than 70 million auto, home, life and health insurance policies.