Regardless of our profession, we all have skills and knowledge we can share with the next generation of community leaders. Rotary Club of Springfield members are doing just that by sharing their knowledge as a Big – in the best way. Members are serving as mentors, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, for students attending Middle College at Ozarks Technical Community College.
Middle College is actually for high-school students from Springfield and adjacent districts. It is a relatively new initiative that offers an alternative pathway for students who may be struggling in the traditional high-school environment or ready for a more mature learning experience. They may be the first members of their families to be on a post-graduation college track. About 125 students attend the Middle College program.
Similar to the traditional Big Brother Big Sister model, Rotary members volunteer to become “Bigs” to provide insight, guidance and the wisdom of their own life experiences by establishing a relationship with an individual student and meeting with him or her on a regular basis to encourage their success in Middle College.
The students spend their junior and senior years on OTC’s campus and start college early with training in career and technical education. Students who are selected for the program receive scholarships through the school district and OTC to cover books, tuition and other costs. The program also focuses on providing internships so students can gain real-life work experience to boost their entry into the workforce. Visit https://www.otc.edu/middlecollege.php for additional program information.