Author: Felicia Curran

Become a Mentor For a Local Student

January is National Mentoring Month. Middle School Matters recognizes that each student is different and therefore has individual needs in order to be successful in high school. One of the many important support services offered through the Middle School Matters program is mentoring. United Way partners with two research-based nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and Communities In Schools, to provide mentoring services to the students of Decker, Mendez and Webb Middle Schools. Students who are matched with a mentor see a rise in their class attendance, grades and overall satisfaction with school. In addition, adults who volunteer as a mentor see positive changes in their own lives as well. Alison, a graphic designer who has lived in Austin for two years, has learned a lot from her time mentoring. She has learned more about other cultural traditions, family dynamics, and herself. Alison has mentored Izzy, a 15-year-old student in Austin, for a little over one year. Izzy’s family originally signed her up for Big Brothers Big Sisters to help Izzy work through bullying issues and to set up a support network for her outside of school. Since Izzy and Alison have begun their journey together, Alison has noticed changes in Izzy’s behavior. “She has always been kind and caring, but had a hard time showing it before in school. Now, she is more confident in herself and able to share her creative and happy side.” Izzy and Alison first bonded over their love of art. On their first outing, Alison took […]

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August’s Face 2 Face Recap with Joseph Kopser

This month’s Austin Business Journal‘s Face 2 Face event featured Joseph Kopser, CEO and Co-Founder of RideScout. Since the app launched in 2013, RideScout is now in more than 69 cities in the U.S. and Canada, earning the 2014 U.S. DOT Data Innovation Award as well as Joseph’s recognition as a White House Champion of Change as a Veteran in Clean Energy in part for his work with RideScout. Prior to RideScout, Joseph served in the army for 20 years. He earned the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star. Joseph is a graduate of West Point with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and also received a masters from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. In his free time, he works closely with The Bunker Austin, an organization dedicated to supporting veteran entrepreneurs. In addition, he volunteers as Chairman of NSTXL, working to improve U.S. Energy Security policy. He lives in Austin with his wife and three daughters. During his time in D.C. working for the Pentagon, he began to notice how main highway lanes were always congested while the HOV lanes were always open. People in D.C. would combat this by informally doing a “rideshare.” Joseph personally witnessed this informal ridesharing at the Pentagon. He watched as people waited outside the Pentagon in a line. People would drive together if they were heading in the same direction. Joseph’s “aha moment” came one day when he noticed people waiting in line in the freezing rain and sleet for […]

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