Compass 2 Campus wins $25K in national competition

Area youth attending the Compass 2 Campus tour day in 2012 shout "Oh! Opportunity! Grab it!" during the event's opening ceremony. File photo by Rachel Bayne for WWU

Western Today staff

Three thousand programs across the country competed, 200 were chosen and the public determined the top 40. And Western Washington University’s Compass 2 Campus youth mentoring program was declared a $25,000 winner in State Farm Neighborhood Assist™.

State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist is a youth-led philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The top 40 causes will each receive a $25,000 grant to execute their winning plan. Thanks to the campus community and its many supporters, WWU will be better equipped to provide educational support for area youth.

“It took the entire community rallying together for our cause,” said Cyndie Shepard, C2C director. “We needed each and every vote to win this award so we want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this possible.”

The votes came fast and steady during the two- and half-week voting period as 3.4 million votes were cast for organizations in the top 200. C2C, the only winner from the state of Washington, placed 26th overall, with a grand total of 47,138 votes.

Compass 2 Campus, in its fourth year at Western, sends hundreds of trained WWU student mentors into area schools in order to get more kids to realize the importance of learning, finish high school and see themselves as future college students. It focuses on students from traditionally underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties.

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. Next fall, C2C moves into the high schools following students as they progress toward graduation.

Over the past three years, Western student mentors have provided nearly 85,000 hours of mentoring service to those students.

C2C has won several prominent awards. Recently, C2C Director Cyndie Shepard was nationally recognized with a Daily Point of Light Award, which honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America. The 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.