What we do

marathon-106At Marathon Scholars we believe that higher education is life changing and should be available to all who aspire. The Marathon Scholars program is designed to identify students whose socio-economic situation may present them with profound challenges but who have great promise and untapped potential. The Marathon Scholars program model utilizes a combination of mentoring, college scholarships and enrichment opportunities to invest in these children early – in 4th grade- and help remove the obstacles they will face on their marathon journey to a college degree.


Why we matter

Beating the Odds ChartMarathon Scholars matters because people matter. At Marathon Scholars we believe that access to education is the most critical factor to individual success and the future of a healthy nation. EVERY child deserves the opportunity for a bright future.

Research continues to show that more jobs in the future will require a post-secondary education and that individuals with a postsecondary degree are significantly more likely to earn more over their lifetimes, be healthier, be less likely to need government assistance and be more engaged citizens. Yet, only 10% of low income students will achieve a 4-year degree.

Marathon Scholars connects with kids early, in the 4th grade, to get them on the path to success and works hard to keep them on that path. We know it’s a marathon, not a sprint!


One-on-One Mentoring

Linda and JenniferThe heart and soul of the Marathon Scholars program is the Scholar-Coach match. The match pairs a 4th grade Marathon Scholar with a caring adult or couple that seeks to directly impact the life of a child. A Coach is a mentor who makes a long-term commitment (minimum of 4 years) to develop and nurture a relationship with a child and serve as a role model, cheerleader, coach and all around expander of the possible! Marathon Coaches and Scholars see each other every month during the first year of the match and commit to connecting in some way (email, phone, letter) each month and meeting in person at least 4-8 times per year after the first year.


College Scholarship

annagrad5Marathon Scholars who graduate from High School and enroll in an accredited, not-for-profit institution of higher education are eligible to receive a $12,000 college scholarship. The Marathon Scholarship is funded through the incredible generosity of Marathon Sponsors who support a Marathon Class by donating $100 per month for 10 years (or the equivalent) to the Marathon Scholarship Fund. Scholars may also be eligible to receive merit scholarships as funds are available. Donors who choose not to become Marathon Sponsors may also make a one-time gift to the scholarship fund of any amount. Every bit helps make education dreams come true!


School and College Visits

Learning about college is a family affair!

Learning about college is a family affair!

College Family Days 

We know that parents and students have different questions about college. Parents probably want to know about costs, funding options, and if their baby is going to be safe! Students want to know what class sizes are, what majors they offer, and what social life is like. We think it is important for the whole family to learn more about college together with other families who are learning, too. We want to eliminate barriers to participation as well, so we bring interpreters and can accommodate families of any size or make-up. Being the first in the family to attend college means that everyone has a lot of questions. To answer those questions, develop a deeper understanding of campus life and admissions expectations, and build a healthy Marathon Scholar identity, Marathon Scholars organizes college visits for Scholars and their whole family to attend. Interpreters help parents whose first language isn’t English to fully participate, coach buses ensure a smooth ride and bathroom access for all the little ones.


Bi-Annual School Visits Program staff conduct two annual visits to each middle school and high school where two or more Scholars attend. These meetings provide an important connection with students in person on a regular basis, establish relationships with schools, and provide Scholars with consistent organizational support.

College and Career Prep

CollegeFair2013Career Exploration

Marathon Scholars exposes Scholars to a variety of career exploration opportunities throughout the year. Quarterly Career Days help Scholars envision how their education can help them find a career path that is the perfect fit for their bright future!

eASPIRE Program

When Scholars begin high school, they are invited to sign up for the eASPIRE online mentoring program through Marathon Scholars. This program pairs each participating high school Scholar with a volunteer e-mentor who makes a minimum 1-year commitment to helping students prepare for college. The eASPIRE program is administered in conjunction with the Oregon Student Access Commission and adheres to all policies and procedures as outlined in their organization’s manual.

Individual Academic Advising

Marathon Scholars (Juniors and Seniors) are invited to advising meetings with the Program Manager starting the summer before their junior year. As part of these meetings, each Marathon Scholar creates a portfolio detailing their college preparation. Younger Scholars who need help applying to summer programs, enrichment activities, and high schools may also receive academic advising from program staff on an ad-hoc basis.


Download our Program Brochure