Middle school serves as transitional years in many ways for teenagers as they bridge their elementary and high school experiences.
For eighth graders in a number of Twin Cities communities, the Hope for Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization, helps students prepare for their high school years and beyond, and Krista Nelson is one of the volunteers who has been instrumental in the program for nearly 13 years.
School leaders – among them teachers, counselors, coaches – identify students to participate in Hope for Tomorrow, often based on needing a boost of support and guidance due to challenging home lives, lack of support outside of school or see leadership capabilities that need to be enhanced.
The Hope for Tomorrow groups meet once a month at the school from October through May and include roughly 12 participants, each student has his or her own mentor, and groups are separated by gender.
There’s a variety of areas addressed that cover such topics as:
- Dreams and Goals.
- Self-respect, attitude and choices.
- Healthy balance (focuses on sleep, exercise and healthy lifestyles).
- First Impressions, work skills, leadership and communication skills.
- Life skills and more.
Each year the students go on a couple of field trips, including one to a post-secondary school. They’ve visited St. Olaf College and this year Dakota County Technical College is the destination. Speakers are also a big part of the program.
Krista volunteers at Rosemount Middle School although there are a handful of schools that offer Hope for Tomorrow.
“Ideally, this program will be offered for eighth graders in districts throughout Minnesota,” said Krista, who was asked to volunteer by a friend and has done so ever since. “It’s a great program and especially successful once a school district embraces the support it provides to the students who need it most.”
Nelson also sits on the Board of Directors for Hope for Tomorrow, which is seeking more adult mentors who can donate a couple of hours each month.
Krista has been a Realtor® for 38 years, but that wasn’t her original plan. She was an engineer by education and training. After her first of two children was born, she was going to stay home but saw an ad in the newspaper that opened the door to her multi-decade real estate career.
I really enjoy the new agents. They are like sponges and open to trying new ideas and learning all day long,” Krista said. “I love this business.”
Congratulations, Krista, on being named a SPAAR Hero! SPAAR Hero is a program of SPAAR’s Community Engagement Committee, sponsored by SPAAR’s REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. Members of SPAAR’s Communications Committee interview and write the SPAAR Hero articles, including this one by Erica Brodd. If you think someone should be named a SPAAR Hero, contact Joe McKinley at firstname.lastname@example.org.