Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! With our focus on mindfulness in the community this quarter, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to tell you about Starfish Initiative, a college access and readiness program serving economically disadvantaged high school students in Marion County here in Indianapolis.

The program gets its name from the “Starfish Story,” where a man slowly and carefully rescues starfish stranded on a beach by gently tossing them back into the water. The beach is covered with thousands of starfish, and a passerby remarks that the man’s efforts aren’t very meaningful. As he tosses another starfish back into the water, the man replies, “It mattered to that one.”

That same mindful action taken to make a difference permeates the work of Starfish Initiative. They match college-educated mentors with academically-promising, low-income high school students. A mentor serves as a “college coach,” helping their mentee, referred to as a Scholar, to stay on track to graduate from high school and prepare for college. Many Scholars will be first-generation college graduates, and benefit from the insight and guidance that a mentor can share because they have successfully navigated their own college journey.

Mentors make a two-year commitment to their Scholar. They meet twice a month, and stay in touch by calling, texting, or emailing during other weeks. Many mentors ask to remain with their Scholar through the last two years of high school to conclude the formal relationship with the accomplishments of high school graduation and college entrance.

I recently applied to become a mentor for Starfish Initiative, attended an orientation session, and will meet my Scholar and her parents soon. I’m really looking forward to beginning this unique partnership, where I will help serve as a resource to my Scholar through the ups and downs of high school. I’m sure that there will be many opportunities for the two of us to take advantage of mindfulness and benefit from its non-judgmental awareness of whatever the present moment might bring.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them in the box below. I look forward to sharing more about mindfulness in the community in my posts next month.

For more information about Starfish Initiative, their site is here: https://www.starfishinitiative.org/