For several Warren County Community College students, John Peppas’ non-credit mentoring program is as valuable to them as the degree they are seeking.
Offering students guidance on curriculum choices, job hunting, and even a little bit of life planning, the program works with 10-15 students a semester.
“It’s about helping them unlock their potential,” said Peppas, Pathways Administrator and Business Lecturer. “There’s no credit but there are lots of benefits.”
Students ranging from the “traditional” to “non-traditional” meet with Peppas for an hour every week or so and tackle the issues that are most important to them.
For 36-year-old Manley Beaubrun, who was laid off recently and is now back at school seeking a degree in business management, the mentoring has focused on putting together a quality resume and interview preparation.
“I would go to interviews and feel like I did great, but the call never came,” said the married father of two. “I’d wonder ‘what did I do wrong.’ I’d take it personally. Working with Mr. Peppas I realized it wasn’t necessarily my fault. Sometimes it’s just what it is and you have to just keep trying.”
In the case of 44-year-old Cathy McCarthy, the mentoring program has “made sure that I am on track to graduate on time.”
McCarthy, who has a full-time job, decided to go back to college “out of the blue.” Working with Peppas has helped her stay on target with her goals.
“He really cares about his students,” said McCarthy. “He helps in so many ways. He’s guided me to pay attention to details and to always look to the future.”
Elisabeth Touaboy, has taken to heart Peppas’ guidance in realizing that “you should take things in motion. What happens happens, but don’t get discouraged.”
The 21-year-old Touaboy continued, “A lot of people my age have no idea what they want to do. I’ve been able to take control of my life [through the program]. I want to strive for the best job and to get the most of what I do.”
Eventually, Touaboy wants to return to her homeland of Central Africa and make a difference.
“There is a lot to learn, especially in business,” Touaboy said. “What I am learning here will help me when I go back.”
For Peppas, the mentoring program was not something he was required to teach.
“It is more than just a task to me,” said Peppas, who spent many years working in corporate America. “It’s something that I just felt I had to do.”
“Mr. Peppas is a motivator,” emphasized McCarthy. “He lets you know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”