KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — tnAchieves is calling for mentors to make sure every student in the TN Promise Class of 2023 has access to local mentor support.

The hope is that at least 7,500 mentors apply by October 21, 2022. For 2023, tnAchieves is returning to in-person, mandatory meetings to allow all volunteers a structured environment to create a stronger connection with their students.

“The entire tnAchieves team is eager to return to in-person mentor/student meetings,” said tnAchieves Senior Director of Mentors Tyler Ford. “After nearly three years of virtual or hybrid mentoring, we recognize that there is no replacement for gathering a group of students in-person to establish an initial connection.”

As Tennessee works to recover from a 9% drop in college going during the pandemic, tnAchieves hopes the return to in-person meetings along with the support of mentors will make a difference for students.

“Before talking with my mentor, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at all. I was avoiding thinking about the future and making a plan because I was unsure and scared,” said Ava, a 2022 TN Promise Student. “When my mentor contacted me, she helped me sort out the things I needed to do and helped me decide on a college. Because my mentor contacted me, I feel more at ease about the months and years to come. I am not stressing about college anymore and I feel confident in my choice!”

Volunteer mentors only need to give an hour per month. Volunteers are also given training and will receive ongoing support from the tnAchieves team. Those interested in applying or learning more can visit https://tnAchieves.org/mentors.

With just one month until the deadline, tnAchieves needs 4,500 additional volunteer mentors to sign up. 265 mentors are still needed in Knox County.