AchieveMpls seeking volunteers to be graduation coaches

AchieveMpls, the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools, is looking for 300 volunteers to serve as graduation coaches for ninth and 12th grade students for the upcoming 2016-17 school year.

Graduation coaches volunteer six hours a month, meeting with students individually or in small groups twice a month at their school. They also stay connected via email.

The goal is to have coaches help students stay on track in school and build their confidence and academic skills. Students with mentors have a better chance of staying in class and enrolling in college.

Graduation coaches Bill Kiffmeyer and Laysha Ward worked with Bonsa, an Edison High School student for two years.

“We met monthly, building a relationship and challenging him to stay focused on class material,” Kiffmeyer said in a statement. “We set goals—achievable, short-term goals—and met them together. We faced challenges head-on and helped Bonsa stay on track to reach his goals. We witnessed a quiet, reserved young man blossom into a strong voiced, confident young man. We are both very proud of him and know that he will go on to achieve great things.”

Bonsa recently graduated from Edison and will attend Augsburg College on a full scholarship.

“Bill and Laysha were my calendar, they were my alarm, they kept me on task. They followed up with me via email when I had difficulties working through the college application process, and they contacted the scholarship staff to make sure everything was on track,” Bonsa said. “Senior year can be frustrating, and we need someone to push us and help us build patience and persistence when we face bumps and hills so that we can bounce back. I am extremely honored to have Bill and Laysha as my mentors.”

Applications for the Graduation Coach program are due July 8. For more information, go to