International Man of History
April 6, 2012
During his year as a Fulbright Scholar in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chris McLaurin met with students who were approaching college age. Many were orphaned; most were from impoverished areas. To have a chance at completing a college degree, they would have to clear some major obstacles.
"One of the biggest problems was that a lot of these kids were traveling from townships to universities. It's hard to bridge the gap of cultures, the distance gap from their homes. Many of them still had family demands that took up a lot of time," says McLaurin, who graduated magna cum laude in 2009. "All of these issues led to a high [college] dropout rate."
So McLaurin helped to create a program that matches students with mentors, many of whom are students at local universities. The mentors provide guidance and assistance about everything involved in the college experience, from what courses the younger students should take to what kinds of careers they should pursue.
McLaurin's passion for mentorship stems from the role mentors played in his own life following the death of his father, a former Pontiac police sergeant, when McLaurin was 15.
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