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The Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is not only providing volunteer opportunities for UW Oshkosh students but it’s also benefiting children in the community and supporting a national movement.

“The objective of the program is for UW Oshkosh students to connect with and provide support to high school students so that they stay in school,” said Pat Nichols, program supervisor.

January 2010 marks the ninth-annual National Mentoring Month, which aims to promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations like UW Oshkosh’s TIP.

Program manager Ruth Mauritz and AmeriCorps staff member Amanda Woodard lead UW Oshkosh’s team by placing mentors with truant high school children who are referred by social workers, counselors or Winnebago County.

“It’s a team effort in trying to address and solve issues children may have,” Woodard said of the staffs’ relationship with the Oshkosh Area School District, the Oshkosh Police Department and Winnebago County.

Trained mentors work with children at least once or twice a week in their designated study hall hour, providing help with homework and offering guidance and support.

“The children really benefit from the one-on-one attention from mentors who also hold children accountable for their class attendance,” Woodard said.

Woodard added that the intervention gives children a positive chance to rectify their behavior, while learning from a UW Oshkosh role model.

While UW Oshkosh students can fill service requirements needed for their human service major by volunteering their time as mentors, they can also reap other benefits from the program.

“Students get great experience to put on their resume, they learn how to work with people and benefit by networking with social workers,” Woodard said. “And, most importantly, they are learning how to build a relationship with a troubled child, which isn’t always easy to do.”

For more information about UW Oshkosh’s Truancy Intervention Program, visit or contact Ruth Mauritz,