Big Brothers Big Sisters' newest program, mentor2.0 needs volunteers. The program is designed to increase the graduation rate by 20 percent at two Albuquerque charter high schools. University of New Mexico faculty and staff are considered ideal for the project which, unlike the traditional program, is much less demanding of both time and travel. UNM President Robert G. Frank is behind the endeavor and encourages faculty and exempt staff to participate.

UNM Associate Vice President Chris Vallejos, a current mentor2.0 volunteer, said, “The number one reason I chose to volunteer in the mentor2.0 program was to give back to the outstanding community I live in. The second reason I chose to volunteer my time is to help our children understand the value of an education. These children are our future and they need the critical thinking skills to be successful adults in our community. New Mexico ranks very low in graduation rates and this program is intended of changing this statistic."

The program's goal is to find 50 UNM volunteers to the 2014/2015 school year. So far, 30 have stepped up to the plate but it’s just not enough. Twenty spots remain and Big Brothers/Big Sisters is trying to get all applications started in the next several weeks, to have all volunteers ready to be matched by mid-July. (The process takes 2-3 months.)

The applications take a little time but the majority of the work is done by the organization. Background checks for the safety of the children and volunteers are required, but beyond that there is nothing to it. Twenty children, in need of nothing more than a little guidance from a compassionate adult, are waiting for help.

These kids need your help. Please volunteer and help a child succeed. High school graduation matters and you could make the difference for a student in need. For more information, contact Ross Holmen at 505.450.5583 or