MERIT is a nonprofit “health career pipeline” program that aims to eliminate health disparities by guiding students at 19 Baltimore City high schools toward health care careers. Mentees of the program—promising but often at-risk kids—have seen a rise in their school GPA and SAT scores and even gone on to earn college scholarships (100 percent get into four-year colleges, many becoming the first in their families to do so).
Saturday college prep classes at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing pair volunteer mentors with their MERIT scholar. The high schoolers also experience paid summer internships in hospitals and labs, college counseling, and longitudinal mentorship.
“I came to school to learn how to be a nurse, but I felt disconnected from the community. So, I became a MERIT mentor to foster that connection,” explains Ben Roberts, a Hopkins master of science in nursing student. “I set out to be a role model, but I discovered from my mentee that mentorship is a partnership. MERIT will give him the extra push necessary to rise above the many challenges he’ll face through high school and beyond. I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.”
Current MERIT mentors from the School of Nursing include Joycelyne Absolu, Emilie Casselle, Christine Choi, Sabianca Delva, Caitlin DiMaina, and Kasey Faulkner.
More information on MERIT is at meritbaltimore.org