Cyndie Shepard, director of the Compass 2 Campus program at Western Washington University, has been given a Daily Point of Light Award, which honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America.
The Daily Point of Light Award was founded by former President George H. W. Bush during his presidency to engage individuals, families, businesses and groups to solve community problems through voluntary service. During his presidency, President Bush distributed 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards, placing volunteer service at the top of his agenda. President Bush continues to sign all of the awards, including the one received by Cyndie Shepard.
“I am honored to receive this prestigious award, and do so on behalf of the outstanding Western student mentors who have made meaningful and lasting impacts on the lives of thousands of area school children,” Shepard said.
Compass 2 Campus, a proactive effort that sends trained WWU student mentors into schools, is in its fourth year at Western. The program offers academic mentoring in areas that lack funding in the elementary, middle and high schools throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties. The goal is to establish a connection between schools lacking funds and college students to increase graduations rates and inspire students to further their education.
To date, the innovative mentoring program has now served thousands of students from the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades in schools in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Over the past three years, Western student mentors have provided nearly 70,000 hours of mentoring service to those students.
WWU students enroll in a three-credit class required to become Compass 2 Campus mentors. Mentors spend at least four hours a week in schools, engaged where teachers and administrators feel they’re needed most; some help with after-school activities while others lead small group projects or provide one-on-one academic help to struggling students.
The program, launched in 2009 at Western, includes 13 area elementary schools and eight middle schools as well as partners from four community and technical colleges and Communities in Schools. Funding for the program primarily is from private sources.
The Washington State Legislature established the program in hopes of increasing the number of low-income students, students of color and first-generation college students in higher education. The predecessor to Compass 2 Campus, Phuture Phoenix, is now in three universities in Wisconsin after starting at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. Shepard co-founded the Phuture Phoenix program several years ago at UW-Green Bay, where her husband, WWU President Bruce Shepard, was chancellor.