The Greater St. Mark (GSM) Community Empowerment Foundation will host its second annual Mix, Mingle and Mentor Luncheon at 11 a.m., Monday, Dec. 20, at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley.
Former state Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr. said the event’s goal is to inspire and support recent high school graduates and college students from throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.
“I recall being a college student and wishing I had access to more mentors with whom to connect and seek guidance,” Pierson said. “I realize that high school graduates need that extra support and positive network.”
Pierson, who has a child in college, wants all students in the community to be successful, regardless of career or academic path. He graduated from Parkway North High School in 1991, earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics in 1995 from Washington University and a Master of Arts in theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2009.
Pierson is a former math teacher at Hazelwood East Middle School, serves as lead pastor of inStep Church in St. Charles, and is a statistician with BioRankings, a consulting group focusing on statistical analytics and innovation.
“Whether transitioning to a skilled trade program or pursuing a traditional degree, our young people are deserving of mentorship to set them up for success,” he said.
A 2017 College of Charleston study titled “Why mentoring matters: African-American students and the transition to college,” reports, “African-American students have experiences quite different from their majority counterparts. African-American undergraduates may have feelings of disengagement, withdrawal, isolation, and less campus involvement than their classmates. Mentoring programs, with an emphasis on interpersonal reinforcement, can buffer the effects of low belongingness and disconnection from the campus community.”
The 2021 Mix, Mingle and Mentor Luncheon is free and sponsored by Armstrong Teasdale LLP and St. Louis Community College.
Recent high school graduates (ages 18 to 22) are encouraged to attend.