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Minds Matter. An Academic Mentorship Program for Underprivileged Youth. Mission Statement. Our mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success. Clip from KATU News. The program.

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minds matter

Minds Matter

An Academic Mentorship Program for Underprivileged Youth

mission statement
Mission Statement

Our mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.


The program

  • Academic Mentorship – Getting highly motivated, underprivileged high school students into four-year colleges.
  • Focus is on current events, test preparation, summer program applications, and college applications.
  • Saturdays: Tutors from 10:00 – 12:00, Mentors from 12:30 – 2:30
  • Two mentors per student
  • Held at the SEI campus on North Kerby
  • Outside events include Portland Opera, Blazers Games, Author Talks, Swimming Lessons, and more.
student requirements
Student Requirements
  • Come from households with an annual family income below $30,000.
  • Applicants must be current freshmen to be accepted for admission in sophomore year.
  • Students must maintain a strong overall grade point average of 3.2 or higher.
  • Attend MM sessions every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Applicants must complete an essay and include in their application a letter of recommendation from a counselor and a teacher.
mentor requirements
Mentor Requirements
  • Be a college graduate
  • Attend at least 75% of sessions (3 Saturdays a month)
  • Communicate with mentees in and out of sessions
  • Undergo a background check
my personal experience nygil
My Personal Experience: Nygil
  • My mentee, Nygil, attended a summer program at Miami University his Sophomore year and at Berkeley his Junior year.
  • Nygil almost drowned in Florida (but was rescued by a pretty girl). Minds Matter offered free swimming lessons the following year.
  • My co-mentor, Darren, and I both attended Linfield college at the same time—and never met.
  • Unfortunately, Nygil moved to Boise. I received a text message from him telling me he had been accepted to all three universities to which he applied. He will be attending Nova in Florida.
  • Mentoring Nygil was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I miss him.
excerpt from nygil s letter
Excerpt from Nygil’s Letter

Sent after his first summer program at Miami University

“It was also awkward at first being in class with all these rich kids, their parents are doctors and stuff I felt intimidated at times, but I pushed through my fear of failure and put my all into the classes which made it easier. I realized towards the end that they were kids just like I was they tie their shoes the same way I do and that I was actually smart.”

why members of this class should participate
Why Members of this Class Should Participate
  • You get to spend time with a group of kids who are motivated and engaged in learning.
  • Although getting good grades, many of these kids still need serious help with English Language Arts.
  • You will get to see me, Rachel, outside of PSU.
  • There are many outside activities that you may get to attend. (Mentees get first choice, however.)
  • As a co-mentor, you get to develop a meaningful relationship both with another adult AND with a high school student.
  • Probably looks pretty great on a job application.
  • Graham, the head of the Portland chapter, will make your day better every time you see him.
  • You will get connected to a variety of people.
  • Being a non-parent, non-teacher, non-authoritarian adult in a teenager’s life is extraordinary.
how to get involved
How to Get involved
  • This program is generally looking for Mentors (not tutors.) Your English expertise will still come in very handy.
  • Email portland@mindsmatter.org
  • The program starts in October, but mentor orientation is usually earlier than that.
  • You will fill out an application, written statement, and agreement to a background check.
  • For more about the program, visit mindsmatterportland.org