Rachel Hirsch

Chemeketa Community College
Rachel Hirsch 
Peer Mentor Coordinator
AmeriCorps Retention Project 

To increase successful transitions to college, Rachel supported college students at Chemeketa Community College to mentor community youth in order to improve students' educational experience and academic success.

Rachel helped teach two elective courses at Chemeketa: Peer Mentoring and Service Learning Leadership. The Peer Mentoring course improved the academic success of at-risk high school mentees by matching them with college student mentors. The Service Learning and Leadership course inspired students to initiate and lead their own volunteer projects. These courses helped the campus creat a model of sustainability that will continue to match mentors with mentees and support students in service activities with their community.

Students involved with the mentor course received significant training on mentoring best practices and were given the opportunity to serve as mentors to at-risk youth. As a result, the mentor program at Chemeketa was strengthened by ensuring the placement of highly skilled mentors, and college students emerged as role models to youth in their community. 

Students involved with the service-learning course learned how to leverage their passions to make a difference in the community. They practiced leadership skills by leading their peers and were introduced to organizations creating solutions to critical community needs. As a result, these students now have the skills and tools necessary to commit to a lifetime of service to their community.