Mentoring program Campus Connections seeking youth participants

CSU faculty and staff are being encouraged to consider enrolling their kids (ages 10 to 18) in the campus-based youth mentoring program Campus Connections. The program is designed to provide mentoring by CSU students to youth and is supported by CSU’s Commitment to Campus.

Two youth walking
Colorado State University student Colin Harris, left, mentored Fort Collins High School sophomore Nick Kucharski in 2016.

In Campus Connections, CSU students from almost 100 majors mentor and provide support to youth referred directly from families and through the juvenile justice system, schools, and community agencies. For the CSU student mentors, it is part of a multidisciplinary service-learning course offered through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

The goal of Campus Connections is to strengthen youth life skills and self-confidence, and promote the resilience and life success of youth. Kids are paired with a CSU student and receive one-on-one mentoring and access to a counselor, if needed, once a week for 12 weeks. Youth can participate in Campus Connections on one of four different evenings (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday). The program is unique because it has the structure and therapeutic staff to address the mental health and behavioral issues beyond the scope of traditional mentoring programs. Each week, CSU students spend four hours providing both individual and group mentoring. Youth eat dinner and participate in fun and engaging activities (such as sports, arts and games) with their CSU mentor and other participants in the program.

Demonstrated results

Campus Connections engages hundreds of local youth and CSU students each year. It is a beneficial service for youth who are experiencing common challenges like academic failure, substance abuse, delinquency or involvement in the juvenile court system, mental health issues, living in poverty, or family or social difficulties. Since 2010, about 2,150 youth from across Larimer County have participated in Campus Connections.

LogoProgram evaluation indicates that youth mentees who participate in Campus Connections report fewer problem behaviors at home and school, more regular school attendance, reduced alcohol and marijuana use, and enhanced emotional well-being. Specifically, youth report feeling happier, like they matter more, and less lonely.

Parents in the CSU community who know 10- to 18-year-olds who could benefit from participating in this therapeutic mentoring program can submit a referral online at the Campus Connections website. On the referral, please indicate if the child has a parent who is employed by CSU. After a referral is received, families can expect a phone call from the Campus Connections office to provide more information about the program, and to schedule an initial intake appointment to get signed up for the fall 2018 session.

The deadline for the fall session, which begins the week of Sept. 10, is Aug. 25, and space is limited. For more information, contact Campus Connections at, 970-988-9811, or in the Gifford Building, Room 142.