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TJ Exford, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Kinesiology and a Holmes Scholar, was appointed mentor liaison for the Harold A. Franklin Sister Society and Auburn City Schools.
The Harold A. Franklin Society is named in honor of Auburn University's first African-American student. The organization promotes academic and social advancement, and fosters professional development of underrepresented students. In accordance with their mission, the society employs a series of community outreach initiatives, including the Auburn University and Auburn City Schools mentoring program.
The mentoring outreach program pairs volunteers with underrepresented middle school and high school students to provide positive role model support, advice and guidance. Mentors and mentees build interpersonal relationships by engaging in activities such as reading together, playing games or doing homework. The goal is to improve the lives of students in the surrounding community while increasing the leadership qualities and communication skills of Auburn University students.
Exford believes that being mentor liaison is a great opportunity to give back to Auburn University and the community. The position entails serving as a mediator between volunteers, Auburn City Schools and Dr. Johnny Green, Auburn University's dean of students, as well as the implementation of program initiatives. She hopes to make the mentor program a template for other universities and colleges to execute in their local communities.
Exford sees the program profoundly impacting children and creating numerous success stories in underrepresented youth. Indeed, her own 13-year-old son, Mitchell, is participating as a mentee in the program. She believes this is will be a "great experience and an opportunity to see her son benefit from the program."
Exford will graduate in the spring of 2011 and wants to pursue a career as a director of wellness at a health center in a rural community.
Last Updated: May 17, 2011