Executive Director Elaine Hammond re-connects with Scholars in person, after keeping in touch during the school year.

In addition to providing financial assistance, the Abramson Scholarship Foundation assigns each Scholar two mentors, one younger and one older, who bring different perspectives to their mentoring relationship.

Like the financial awards, the Foundation’s mentoring support now continues through all four years of college. This continuity helps ensure the student’s academic success.

The mentoring component of the Foundation’s program is just as important as the financial stipends. Many of the Scholars do not have close relatives who have attended college. Some have rarely had the opportunity to venture outside of their immediate neighborhoods. Being a groundbreaker can be lonely and bewildering. Our Scholars need someone in their corner offering advice and guidance.

Mentors regularly keep in touch with their Scholars, through phone calls, e-mail, texts and face-to-face meetings. They offer a range of advice and support – everything from suggestions about who to contact in the event of a missed academic deadline to proofreading academic papers. Their goal is to support their Scholars and to maximize their chances of success in college and beyond.

Mentors also work to foster a sense of community within the Foundation and amongst the Scholars. In the summertime, about a month after scholarships are awarded, the Mentoring Committee hosts a send-off social event for the first year Scholars, usually at a restaurant or at a board member’s home.  Also, each semester, the Committee hosts a care package assembly night where mentors contribute items like highlighters, gift cards, candy and other goodies, pack them up, and send them to the Scholars as they prepare for final exams.  The Committee also hosts social gatherings when Scholars are home for their Thanksgiving and spring breaks, and it organizes a bowling outing at the close of the academic year.

Board President Addy Schmitt and Development Co-Chair Richard Hanks discuss 2011 First Year Scholar Darryl Robinson’s plans for the summer.

The Foundation’s signature mentoring event is the Professional Development Workshop, which is held over winter break when Scholars are at home in Washington DC.  During the Workshop, mentors and board members lead modules on dressing professionally, interviewing, and resume-writing.  The Workshop also provides an opportunity for the Scholars to socialize and network with a group of professional adults who sincerely care about their welfare.  This mixing and mingling can often lead to concrete employment opportunities for Scholars as mentors and board members meet and get to know students interested in working in their fields. This winter, the Mentoring Committee hosted two workshops to address the different needs of the first-year Scholars and the graduating seniors.

Mentors are board members, former board members or professionals in the D.C. community recommended by board members.  If you are interested in the Mentoring Program, please contact the Foundation.