Clif McFeely has figured out how to get high school students excited about the future.
“There are a lot of good kids out there that just need a little advice and guidance," said the founder of Future 5 in Stamford. “There’s an endless need for what we all in the mentoring world do."
With those "good kids" in mind, the New Canaan resident launched Future 5 in the spring of 2009 as an in-person and online mentoring system for low-income high schoolers. It is now a program of Domus, an organization helping children learn job skills, improve academic performance and develop critical thinking skills.
The program’s goal is to put them on a path to college or a professional trade school through peer relationships, real-life job experience and support by volunteer coaches. He said that along the way, each student will acquire the knowledge and tools needed for success.
“If we do our part right here, they can go wherever they choose with enthusiasm.”
One way Future 5 does its part is by offering students the opportunity to shadow a professional in the field they hope to enter.
Through partnerships with companies like Bank of Ireland and Ashforth Commercial Real Estate and Investment Management, they can see what it’s like to work in many departments, such as administration, human resources, accounting and construction. Representatives from the working world also give presentations at Future 5.
McNeely arranges college visits during breaks from school. In the past, he has taken students to Quinnipiac University, the University of Connecticut and Pace University.
“We come up with strategies for how they overcome the things that can get in the way of success, and the students set up a game plan for short-term and long-term commitments,” he said.