By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)September 6, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany - It's never too early to start preparing for college.
That's why students, parents, mentors and volunteers are encouraged to participate in the new Wiesbaden "Show Me The College Money" workshops to be held twice monthly at the Teen Center in Hainerberg Housing.
"This is something that's been percolating for a number of years," said Peter Witmer, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden school liaison officer.
Modeled after other Department of Defense Dependents Schools programs such as the "Real World Program" and "Life Beyond High School," the Wiesbaden workshops invite experts throughout the community, such as university professors and financial aid specialists, to share their areas of expertise with students and parents considering their options while looking to the future.
With partners including Child, Youth and School Services; Wiesbaden High School; Wiesbaden Education Center; the Military Child Education Coalition's Parent-2-Parent program; Senior Parent Association and Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club, Witmer said the new program is another example of the expanding community-school partnership in USAG Wiesbaden. "The amount of enthusiastic support we've received has been phenomenal."
The program is not for seniors only, Witmer said, explaining that college applications and financial aid considerations should start as early as possible. "Our target audience is late middle school to high school students and their parents."
The program is linked to a recent Boys and Girls Clubs of America financial award that USAG Wiesbaden CYSS received last year intended to help local students prepare for life after high school, said Witmer. "It's also aimed at helping educate teens to make wise decisions.
"We'll determine the direction of the program by the feedback we receive from the participants," he said. That way workshop planners can seek out people to address specific issues and answer questions raised during the sessions.
"It's a very workshop-focused program," Witmer added, explaining that presentations will be limited to 25 minutes and then the rest of the time will be dedicated to practical applications of the materials presented. "We'll have mentors in the room to assist.
"Every workshop will have a specific focus, but in the workshop phase individuals will have time to work on their particular projects," Witmer said. Students and parents can bring whatever they're working on related to the college preparation process and mentors will be on hand to provide feedback and assistance.
"We welcome anyone with expertise about writing a college application, the financial aid process, etc. to share their expertise. Ideally, we'd like to have a mentor or a facilitator to help every participant who attends," he said. "The key thing is the scope of the partners involved."
The first session of "Show Me The College Money" meets Sept. 12 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Teen Center. Workshops are planned for every first and last Monday of the month thereafter.
For more information or to get involved as a mentor or presenter call Peter Witmer at mil 335-5129 or civ (0611) 408-0129.