Three Ways You Can Empower Students as a tnAchieves Mentor

Written by Julius Johnson, tnAchieves mentor and former Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture

One hour of your time each month could change a student’s future.

That’s what being a tnAchieves mentor is all about: making small investments that pay big dividends in the lives of our youth. Maury County is on the hunt for new mentors in time for the application deadline of November 20, and you’re encouraged to apply.

First, let me answer a couple questions you may be asking: What is tnAchieves, and why should I get involved?

tnAchieves is the partner organization to Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship program that covers a Tennessee student’s pursuit of an associate’s degree. tnAchieves mentors remind Tennessee Promise applicants of key program deadlines, answer their questions about college and serve as sources of encouragement during a challenging time of transition.

Why serve as a tnAchieves mentor? That’s easy: Because each of us has an opportunity to empower area students as they finish high school and begin their college careers. The time investment is small: a one-hour training session, two in-person meetings and twice-monthly text or phone communication with the five-to-10 students assigned to you.

Here are three ways your tnAchieves mentorship can change a student’s life:

  1. Mentors keep students updated on important milestones

The Tennessee Promise program carries a few requirements, including program meetings, community service hours, and college and financial aid applications. tnAchieves mentors make sure students are on track to fulfill their obligations and stay on the right path to a transformative college education. Without the help of mentors, many students would risk washing out of the program and losing out on a life-changing opportunity.

  1. Mentors provide stability during a daunting time

The transition from high school to college is exciting, but it isn’t easy. Mentors serve as sources of reassurance during a period of life that can be full of uncertainty. Regular texts and phone calls from mentors keep students grounded as they finish strong in the classroom and decide where to continue their education.

Since Tennessee Promise removes the financial barriers to community college enrollment, many participants are the first members of their families to seek higher education. As a result, few people in their support systems may have attended college. That makes your influence vital.

  1. Mentors reveal Maury County’s priorities

Our schools are changing lives right down the street. Maury County Public Schools’ DIPLOMA initiative is placing a laptop in the hands of every student and teacher in the district. Mount Pleasant’s K-12 STEAM campus is the first of its kind in the nation, and the town will welcome a new branch of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in the fall. The MCPS Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness are holding students and educators accountable for new standards that will change the future of our community.

tnAchieves is your chance to join the movement. You don’t have to have earned straight As in college. Nobody will ask you to teach a class or prove a theorem. You just have to care about a helping a handful of teenagers take the next step forward in bettering their futures.

As a tnAchieves mentor myself, I have been inspired by the strength I’ve seen from the students I’ve counseled. You’ll gain more from the experience than you’ve ever imagined. And so will they.

To learn more about becoming a tnAchieves mentor, visit Make sure you apply by the deadline of November 20!