LINK Crew Encourages Mentorship Among Students

ROGERS -- A group of Heritage High School Students are cutting summer break short to help out their younger classmates. Organizers say the LINK Crew mentorship program is growing.

Heritage High senior Carla Archer says the LINK Crew helped her through the transition into high school. "I was really nervous coming in freshman year," said Archer.  "Your freshmen year, it counts. And you start getting your GPA, and it's on your transcript, and colleges look at that. You have to be focused and more disciplined."

Jennifer Richard is the sponsor of LINK Crew, a program that asks upperclassmen to take the new kids under their wings.

"In a school with almost 2,000 students, it's easy for kids to get overwhelmed and to get lost and this helps them to be successful in high school," said Richard. "They're used to teachers telling them what to do, but when someone that's just two years older, that has just been through it and has experienced the challenges that they're about to experience are telling them the importance of studying and making good choices, they're going to probably listen to a junior or senior who they respect and look up to,"

The LINK Crew leads freshman orientation, but the mentors also meet with their younger classmates at least once a month. The program gives the older kids a chance to exercise leadership.

"It's a really good learning opportunity for me, and it just helps me get experience, like being a leader," said Archer. "I really got an impact out of that. I thought it really helped me feel more comfortable."

The LINK Crew has more than doubled in size since it first started, and it's spread to Rogers High School, as well as some local middle schools.

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