Gloria Calhoun, M.Ed. – Harvesting Scholars College & Career Mentorship Program

Gloria Calhoun is the founder of Harvesting Scholars College & Career Mentorship program. From personal experience, Gloria knew how stressful and frustrating the college selection, application and admission process could be. When her son and niece were freshmen in high school, she experienced as a parent how frustrating and difficult it was to find resources to help her children to understand the next steps to be prepared for life after high school. She recalls people thinking she was insane because the perception was that 9th grade was too early to begin the college conversation. As an educator, she understands the importance of exposing students to new experiences to help to be informed and have a good idea of what to expect so they are not surprised when in their final years of high school.

As she did her own research and came across new resources and college information, rather than keeping it to herself, she, along with her husband, began sharing with other parents who experienced the same concern. She launched Harvesting Scholars in 2015 and it continues to be a sought-after resource for many families throughout the state.

Harvesting Scholars offers boot camp style college fairs in North Georgia to add to the available options of college resources for students and families in her community. During the fair, workshops are offered on various topics such as understanding the FAFSA, Paying for College & Finding Scholarships, Campus Safety, Athletic Recruitment and other college related information. Because Gloria and her team recognizes that college is not for everyone, local employers are invited to connect students and adults to available jobs. The fair has been operating since February 2016 and has grown from 50 students and parents to upwards of 400 in attendance.

After each fair, we assess which colleges the students are most interested in and schedule campus tours. During the fall and summer of each year, Harvesting Scholars coordinates campus visits to various colleges and universities to help students begin narrowing down their decision. We obtain meetings with admissions counselors and participate in student-led tours, which help our scholars gain a firsthand
look at life on a college campus that. We’ve visited schools in our local area as well as in South Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The grant funds from the Pollination Project will assist us in expanding our tours from day trips to a week-long trips to various states which will allow students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity, to visit colleges and universities.

There is something about when students step foot on a college campus for the first time. The brochures in the mail are great, the college fairs and meeting the admissions reps are amazing. Once a student who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity, actually step foot on a college campus, it all becomes real; the spark in their eye is priceless. The calls and messages saying, “I Got In” makes it all worthwhile.