November 11, 2019
Every week, ASU students volunteer their time as mentors with Future for Kids, a nonprofit organization in Arizona that focuses on providing mentorship and education to children in local communities.
Former NFL player Rodney Smith founded FFK so that children could get free access to sports camps. In 2002, the organization expanded to include after-school mentor programs to help at-risk youth be a part of positive experiences. According to Future for Kids, the organization has impacted more than 137,000 lives since it launched in 1991.
ASU students have the opportunity to volunteer for FFK at one of the organization’s many Valley locations.
Just a couple light rail stops away from the Tempe campus is Esperanza Academy. Here, many ASU students volunteer to mentor kids in the third through eighth grade.
Priyanka Nava, 20, a senior majoring in biological sciences and philosophy, and Carolyn Giangrasso, 22, a senior majoring in educational studies, both mentor at this FFK location.
“I think being a constant support for the kids and being there for them is very rewarding,” Giangrosso said.
Through low mentor-to-child ratios, children get the attention and support they need. The small groups create a welcoming and safe environment where they can be free to learn and grow.
“I like making them smile after they have had a bad day,” Nava said.
Each Sun Devil is designated to mentor four to six children and follow a curriculum created by FFK that allows for valuable learning.
“We focus on ethics, academics and athletics and do an activity on each component,” Gianiagrosso said.
Students who have limited free time can volunteer for other activities that are less frequent.
“They have sports camps as well for students who cannot attend the weekly mentorship program,” Nava said.
Through this initiative, Nava said ASU students have the potential to impact the youth of the community and to encourage growth and education.