Newest Rockford Promise staffer passionate about mentoring

Gabrielle Sims is relatively new to the professional world, but she already has built quite a resume around serving others.

Just since 2020, she’s worked for Focus House in Rochelle as an adolescent treatment specialist, Winnebago County Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) as a supervisor and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois as a scholarship associate.

Gabrielle, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in human development and family studies in 2021, also has volunteered at the Rockford Rescue Mission and Washington Community Center as well as on the Rockford Promise mentoring committee.

In August, she brought those experiences to Rockford Promise full time as Mentoring Program Manager where she will be charged with implementing mentoring circles to meet the social, emotional needs of Rockford Promise’s rapidly expanding roster of Scholars.

“I love the premise that RPS 205 graduates have the promise of an education as long as they work hard in high school and have academic success there as well,” said Sims, who graduated from Harlem High School in 2017. “My position in particular is exciting to me because I have a passion for helping students through mentorship. I’m a firm believer that every student can be successful as long as they have the right support and access to resources.”

Interim Executive Director Kaylene Groh said filling the mentoring position with the right person was one of the organization’s top goals.

“We are so excited to welcome Gabrielle to our team.  Mentoring remains one of our top organizational priorities, and Gabrielle brings proven passion and strong talent to our Mentoring program as we continue to scale for increased numbers of students.”

The mentoring circles initiative is extremely important for Rockford Promise and its Scholars. Mentoring has been a key factor to the success of Rockford Promise Scholars since 2016. Over the past two years, the number of Scholars in the program has tripled, making it impossible to keep a 1-to-1 mentor-to-Scholar ratio. The mentoring circles will help ensure Scholars have access to a mentor as well as create a built-in social group with the other Scholars in their mentoring circle.