The Harper program has expanded to 200 students this year so the need for community coaches is greater than anticipated. Approximately 30 coaches are needed now to match up with the students.
Celebrating its 15th year, OMD is an initiative over the Chicagoland Community Colleges, that provides coaching, professional development, financial help and general support to selected highly motivated students. One Million Degrees is the only organization of its kind in Illinois, and one of the few in the entire country.
OMD creates a holistic network of support including academic, personal, professional, financial, for the students to enable them to successfully complete their degree. Providing this support system is critical to these students as they may face various barriers or obstacles in their life that can impact students from succeeding with their goals.
“Typically, we recruit coaches over summer to wrap up recruitment before the semester begins, but because Harper College has allocated additional funds to allow more students to benefit we have been able to expand the program.” remarked Kate Scheuch (OMD Senior Volunteer and Alumni Programs Coordinator)
OMD can match coaches with students quickly. Having caring and committed coaches from the local community for the students is an essential and much needed part of the program and brings a commonality that is valuable to students.
It takes less than 15 minutes to sign up to be a coach – simply sign up at thebavc.org.
Once the coach training is completed (a 45 minute session), the average time commitment is 2 hours per month. Much of the program is still virtual but having coaches from the local community brings a valuable commonality to the coach-student relationship.
Coaches should have at least an associates degree (or equivalent work experience), and a passion for supporting community college students with diverse backgrounds.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know my scholar and watching him develop and gain more confidence over the course of the school year. Having benefited greatly from mentors who supported me while I was in college, it has been really rewarding to provide that same support to my scholar as an OMD coach.” Nick, OMD Coach
Additionally, Harper College has a relationship with Barrington High School and works with the counselors there to identify potential OMD students and provide information on the program.
“I like to think of it as one million degrees not because of college degrees, but because of one million degrees of impact going forward to students as they are able to access higher education!” said Kate.
About the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection
Launched in January of 2021, the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection (BAVC) was developed via a partnership between Barrington Area Development Council and the Barrington Area Library. BAVC’s goal is to bring all 100+ Barrington area nonprofits, churches and service organizations in one searchable database so that volunteers can easily find opportunities. The foundation of BAVC is a volunteer match platform called Get Connected which serves as a clearinghouse to bring together organizations, volunteers, and collaborators to match volunteer interests with nonprofits needing assistance. GetConnected also offers organizations optional features such as easy record keeping of volunteer hours, as well as mobile check in and shift reminders and other ways to communicate with volunteers. Learn more at TheBAVC.org. * BAVC Photos by Bob Lee