We’re excited to announce that icouldbe’s executive director Kate Schrauth wrote an article for Huffington Post Impact this past week! The article, titled “For Volunteer Month: How Today’s Busy Professional Can Give Back” discusses how virtual volunteer opportunities are great for those who want to give back, but have limited time to do so.
An excerpt from the post:
“What does it mean to volunteer “virtually”? It is the act of completing tasks off-site from the organization you are volunteering for, using the Internet to stay connected. In other words, you choose an organization you want to support and fulfill that commitment from anywhere with an Internet connection.”
What do you think about virtual volunteerism? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Posted in Volunteerism
Tagged ementoring, Executive Director, Huffington Post, icouldbe, icouldbe.org, impact, Kate Schrauth, mentoring, online mentoring, technology, virtual volunteerism
Finding the time to make a positive impact is easier than most people think. Since time is such a limited resource for a lot of working professionals, many ask: how can I find the time to volunteer and give back?
While many think volunteering requires large amounts of time, giving back & making an impact can be as simple and convenient as committing one hour per week. There are dozens of organizations geared towards those of us who have busy schedules, can’t take time off of work or who need the weekends to recharge after a long week. Living in an increasingly digital world, there are plenty of ways to get involved that can make a positive impact on individuals all around the globe.
- Get Social for Social Change: Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest allow people to help out with a simple click of a mouse. By “liking” a nonprofit page on Facebook you can help publicize an organization’s mission, spreading the word to the hundreds of people who see your newsfeed each day. You can even tag organizations in your own posts with a personalized message to friends asking them to get involved.
- Play to your Strengths: Websites like Volunteer Match, Catch-A-Fire and Sparked pair people with social organizations that match a user’s profile preferences. These resources make finding the perfect match easier than ever, eliminating the daunting process of wading through group after group as you try to find the association that’s right for you.
- Make a Difference with Time Online: icouldbe.org is always looking for new mentors on all career trajectories and all we ask for is one hour per week per mentee – a manageable time commitment for even the busiest professional. Plus, with our online platform you can help an at-risk student from anywhere in the US gain important academic skills and guide them towards a successful future.
- Be an Engine of Change: Search engines like GoodSearch offer donations to your nonprofit or school of choice. Every time you search, a penny is put towards your cause. Think about how often you use Google every single day and it becomes clear just how quickly donations can add up.
These are just a few examples of how digital tools can bring about definite, quantifiable change in just a few minutes to an hour. By taking advantage of the various online options available today, all you need to do is choose which give-back method works best for you. Sometimes, all it takes is one click.
Photo Credit: John Ward on Flicker’s Creative Commons
Posted in Inspiration, Mentors, Volunteerism
Tagged catchafire, digital, goodsearch, icouldbe, mentoring, sparked, tips, volunteerism, VolunteerMatch
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bryan Voeltner for winning the 2012 icouldbe Teacher of the Year Award. We honor Mr. Voeltner, a founding teacher of the Academy of Information and Technology at Hoover High School in San Diego, CA for his extraordinary commitment to his students. As an 18 year veteran teacher in Hoover’s Technology Support and Global Information Systems programs, Bryan has delivered icouldbe’s program for six years, helping us serve nearly 600 students with our career exploration and college preparation e-mentoring program. This year there are currently 80 students enrolled who are paired with 126 mentors from a wide variety of industries.
Bryan’s hard work is evident in the achievements of his students and his support of the icouldbe.org program. His students have consistently exceeded the goals of the curriculum due in large part to his hard work and support. Mr. Voeltner states, “As a College and Career Technical Educator, the icouldbe program has been instrumental in helping me ensure that my students have a solid background in what it takes to choose, prepare for, and be successful in a career. The icouldbe curriculum has helped open doors for my students to view the larger world outside of their immediate community. The activities they complete have the greatest benefits in the areas of communication, research, and planning.” His students will far exceed the goal of completing 19 curricular activities for the 2012-2013 school year as they have already completed 17 curricular activities at this mid-point in the school year.
Elizabeth Lang, the icouldbe.org Program Manager states, “I thoroughly enjoy working with Bryan because of his enthusiasm, reliability and energy in the classroom. His exceptional professionalism and extraordinary teaching skills have motivated the students to achieve their potential.”
Accolades ring across the entire organization. Kate Schrauth, Executive Director at icouldbe adds, “Bryan is always there for us. Just as we constantly encourage our students to be life-long learners, we know we must always be a learning organization as well. Bryan has dedicated countless hours outside of the classroom to assist us in our quest to apply all we have learned over these many years so that we can provide the very best experience to our students. We are honored to have Bryan on our team.”
It is our distinct honor to name Bryan Voeltner as the 2012 Teacher of the Year!
At the end of 2011, icouldbe began a critical internal project: migrating internal operational data used to track our school, program, corporate, and foundation partners into Salesforce. Centralizing this data in a secure shared location was a top priority to make sure we had greater efficiency and transparency as our organization grew. So we turned to Catch-a-Fire to find a qualified volunteer and by early 2012 we kicked off our Salesforce initiative with Paul Stoddard, who works by day as an AT&T Systems Architect and in his spare-time as a volunteer extraordinaire!
Paul was initially interested in helping icouldbe because of his own positive volunteer experience as a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Newark, NJ, and tutoring children through the “I Can Foundation”. As Paul describes:
“Catch-a-fire offers many opportunities to help worthy organizations. I chose icouldbe because of my love for helping young people. Improving education and mentoring children are possibly the most important things we can do to contribute towards a better world.”
Paul’s passion for mentoring has given him insight into the mission of icouldbe, and combined with his technical expertise, has enabled him to customize Salesforce to help us achieve our goals.
Each week throughout 2012, Paul dedicated his spare time, approximately 80 hours to-date, working with us to plan and implement the project. icouldbe staff worked with Paul to transfer contact, organization, billing, and invoice data into Salesforce. Paul has guided us through best practices, and ongoing training, and has worked diligently to understand our requirements and to customize Salesforce to reflect icouldbe’s program model.
The value of the time and dedication that Paul has contributed to icouldbe over the past year cannot be measured in hours. We are in the final phases of the project and could not have accomplished so much without Paul’s invaluable commitment. That’s why we want to thank Paul and recognize him as icouldbe’s Volunteer of the Year for 2012.
One of our favorite months of the year is over. It seems like the New Year just began, but here we are a week into February, already on the other side of National Mentoring Month. And what a month it was! Teachers from both the East and West Coasts contributed to the icouldbe blog, our Executive Director Kate Schrauth headed to DC to take part in the National Mentoring Summit, and to top it all off, we hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire, which led to some great discussion around online mentoring, mentoring the next generation, and the role of corporate volunteerism.
National Mentoring Month may be over, but February promises to be a great month, too. Every week this month we’ll highlight some of our partners: our teachers, volunteers, mentors, and schools. We appreciate all the work that these groups of people do for icouldbe on a daily basis, and we want to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on and thank the individuals who go above and beyond to reach at-risk students and guide them towards success.
Stay tuned – we’ll be sharing a new post every week. First up later this week: Volunteer of the Year.
Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday evening for #mentornextgen! Last night, icouldbe hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire and we were thrilled by the participation. We chatted about volunteering through your employer, what motivates you as a mentor, the benefits of online mentoring, what the future holds for the next generation’s workforce, and much more.
If you weren’t able to participate, but are interested in following the conversation, check out the Storify we created for last night’s chat – it is easy to follow and will give you a run down of the topics we discussed:
Have a response to one of the questions asked last night? You may have missed the live chat, but we’d still love to hear your stories, thoughts, and experiences with mentoring. Leave your answers in the comment section below. And we hope you’ll be able to join us for our next chat!
Posted in Corporations, Mentors, Twitter Chats, Volunteerism
Tagged Aspire Mentoring Academy, AT&T, at-risk, convenience, corporation, e-mentoring, encourage, mentoring, mentoring month, Mentoring Works, online mentoring, students, volunteer
Please join the discussion for a Twitter Chat next week to celebrate National Mentoring Month! On Wednesday, January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST, log on to Twitter, follow @icouldbeorg and jump in the conversation using the following hashtag:
Our co-host will be one of our newer partners, AT&T Aspire (follow them on Twitter at @ATTAspire). AT&T Aspire is a high school success and workforce readiness initiative that is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments dedicated to helping high school students succeed.
Several AT&T employees who are volunteering their time as mentors to hundreds of students around the country will also join the chat, sharing their thoughts and experiences.
The chat will last one hour, during which time we’ll cover topics including: corporate volunteerism and online mentoring, mentoring the next generation’s workforce, personal mentoring stories, and more.
It’s simple and easy to join, just:
- Mark your calendars for January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST
- Log in to Twitter at the beginning of the chat and search for #MentorNextGen. This will keep you in the loop of what others are saying and what questions are being discussed.
If you have any questions about next week’s chat, don’t hesitate to contact us – leave a message in the comment section of this blog post or reach out to us on Twitter!
Posted in Corporations, Mentors, National Mentoring Month, Twitter Chats, Volunteerism
Tagged AT&T, corporate volunteerism, mentoring, mentors, online mentoring, Twitter chat, volunteerism