Catalent kicks off mentoring program for school year

Published 10:15 am Friday, September 21, 2018

For eight years, Catalent Pharma Solutions has mentored students at Campbell Junior High School.

But this year, the program is bigger and better than ever before.

Catalent kicked off the 2018-19 year of mentoring Thursday. Groups of Campbell students were in and out of Catalent all day, meeting their mentors, touring the plant and learning about the industry.

The mentoring program is a part of Partners In Education (PIE), a nonprofit organization that connects local businesses to students in the public school system.

Mentors give about one hour of their time every week to work with a student.

The goal of the Catalent mentor kickoff day is to establish a rapport with the children before officially starting the program, Roger Croucher, project manager at Catalent, said. Last year, it took a while for some students to warm up to their mentors, he said, so Catalent organized the kickoff day as a solution.

“We wanted to let them come here and see what we do here, the type of work that we do here, and why we want to be involved in this program,” Croucher said.

The kickoff day is also a way to show students the types of jobs available in their backyard. Croucher told the students there are opportunities for them right after high school as well as after college; any path they choose, opportunities are available at Catalent.

Catalent won Partner of the Year last year, Croucher said. Since then, the number of mentors has nearly double. More than 40 Catalent employees have signed up to be mentors. Volunteers can mentor anywhere from one to five students.

“We find it important to be a partner in this community,” Croucher said. “So education is a huge aspect for our leadership team here at the site… Just like with patient-first mentality that we have here at the site, we have education-first mentality here for the community and our involvement.”

Croucher said it’s crucial to have mentor programs such as this in schools. Mentoring can take a lot of different avenues whether it be helping with homework, providing support for career aspirations or listening with an empathetic ear.

“I have a passion about it because when I was a young child, there was someone that was in my life, not maybe in a mentoring program, but was a mentor to me,” Croucher said. “I came from a very rough background growing up, and there’s no telling where I would have been if I wouldn’t have had someone like that in my life. So I’m an example of the positive that can come out of a mentor and student matchup.”

Thursday’s kickoff event was the first of many, Croucher said. The goal is to grow each year.

“We take pride in knowing that we’re making an impact in our communities,” Croucher said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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