Jasmyne* is in 4th grade at a local Title 1 school. The first time we met she couldn’t read the word cat. I later found out that not only could she not read on grade level, but she didn’t have the support system at home to help her get there. Her mom, her hero, was murdered a few years ago, and dad really isn’t in the picture. She now lives with her elderly grandmother, and although she provides her with an abundance of love, it’s difficult for her to help Jasmyne with the everyday things like homework, playing in the backyard or cooking dinner.
We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. In Jasmyne’s case, I’m a part of her village – as are her teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
As a member of Unum’s community relations team, I mentor high school students like Jasmyne, to help properly prepare and support them for the academic and social challenges they may face.
At Unum, we believe education is the foundation of a healthy community and as a major presence in the communities where we live and work, Unum is committed to improving public education for our children and our neighbors.
We have mentor programs at each of our campus locations that include partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club and Junior Achievement, just to name a few. Recently, on our Portland campus, we held the 11th annual Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) Urban Adventure program. The program is a two-day event for nearly 150 eighth graders in JMG programs across Maine. The days are packed with lessons on leadership, adventure and life-skills. Throughout the program, Unum volunteers spend time with the students and share invaluable leadership knowledge and provide encouragement.
Mentor programs such as this one provide a big impact within a short period of time. The lessons learned from our volunteers during these events will undoubtedly be carried with them for years to come.
Last year, our employees logged over 3,000 volunteer hours towards mentor programs. So, as you can see, it’s not just Unum that has a commitment to mentoring students. It’s our people. Mentoring is so important – by investing time into students we can help them break down educational barriers, guide them towards a successful path, and hopefully a meaningful career.
At Unum, whether in one of our field offices or in the UK, our volunteers are committed to giving back. Because as we all know – it takes a village to raise a child, and at Unum we’re willing to be a part of that.
*Jasmyne is not the student’s real name. We changed her name to protect her privacy.