Growing up in Muncie, Indiana, Deena Elsheikhhad a passion for working with children, whether it was babysitting or volunteering in her community. She carried that passion into her college career at Indiana University Bloomington. During her freshman year in 2015, Elsheikh and a friend applied to volunteer with College Mentors for Kids–a commitment that has continued and expanded throughout her four years at IU.
College Mentors for Kids is a student organization that provides after-school care solutions for families and positive role models for underserved kids from first to sixth grade.After a semester in the organization, Elsheikh was promoted to a leadership role overseeingall second-grade programming. During the 2018-19 academic year—her senior year—she served as president of College Mentors for Kids. And while her role shifted, she still found time to connect with the kids, along withgaining leadership skills while overseeing 120 IU student mentors.
College Mentors for Kids began at IU Bloomington in 1995, with one group of IU students mentoring one group of elementary school students. The group achieved official nonprofit status in 1997. Now, in 2019, the programserves2,000 kids annually through 34 chapters. College Mentors for Kids is rooted in three pillars: community service, cultural diversity, and higher education. Participating college students can join committees on programming and planning or finance, helping to develop and present an annual budget.
At 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 40 elementary school kids travel to the IU Bloomington campus by bus, where they spend an hour of one-on-one time with an IU student who hasgone through an application processto be selected as a mentor.