Meet our summer interns

We had the pleasure of having not one but two summer interns. Our interns worked closely with the program team and gave amazing feedback on the iCouldBe curriculum and mentee welcome videos. Here is what they had to say about their experience at iCouldBe.


My Internship Experience
Hi! My name is Jessica and I am an upcoming senior in high school. During this summer I have been wanting to gain work experience inside a company. So when I was given the opportunity to intern with iCouldBe, I felt excited to be part of an innovative program. It had been a perfect match for me because I was able to explore, network, and develop goals. 

My experience has been amazing. The iCouldBe team always made sure my ideas were heard by everyone and made me feel comfortable to share my ideas.

Whether I was giving feedback or working on a project, I was able to work on my communication and collaboration skills. Since I had been working virtually, it allowed me to have a more flexible schedule and develop new technical skills.

I could have not asked for a better experience. I appreciate the iCouldBe staff for being so welcoming during the entire internship.  

Why iCouldBe Matters
In high school, most of us are unsure of our goals and plans after graduation. So having a mentor to provide guidance and support throughout our own personal journey in school is extremely helpful when developing goals and plans after graduation. Not only does iCouldBe fit this criteria, but it provides resources on colleges, resumes, community services, and so much more.

I know I will definitely talk about this program to my peers and teachers because it could help so many students in my high school!


My Internship Experience
Hello, my name is Paige and I am going to be a senior this upcoming school year. This summer, I was looking for a place where I could learn more about working in a more professional setting. I found that my school district was looking for interns and I was able to earn an internship with iCouldBe.

Although my internship with iCouldBe has been virtual, it has taught me the importance of communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. I was constantly emailing and talking to my coordinators, peers, and others .I used my critical thinking skills in different ways to help think of new ideas for new projects. Also, I felt like my voice was heard when the iCouldBe team and I were collaborating to try to find the best ways to improve their program in calls.

Not only was I able to learn more about communication, critical thinking, and collaboration, but I was able to get a better understanding of the work environment. Throughout this internship experience with iCouldBe, it has taught me lessons that I will be able to take with me in the future.

Why iCouldBe Matters
iCouldBe is a program that helps mentees investigate who they are and who they could be in the future, career-wise and personally. It is a safe place where mentees can think deeply about themselves and their future and can get the opinion, ideas, and perspective from a mentor.

Students across the country can benefit from this amazing program as it helps with something many high school students struggle with; figuring out themselves and their future.

iCouldBe is a great way for students to create a strong foundation to start looking into their future and how they can get there.

February News

Celebrating Black History Month

We at iCouldBe believe that Black Lives Matter. 

Celebrating Black History month this year will be more important than ever before. As an organization that supports a community of largely Black and Brown students, we must fight against systems that don’t support, and are often hostile to, our mentees. Join us this February as we take to social media to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the Black community. 


Mentee Thoughts

A few anonymous quotes from our amazing mentees!

“I feel excited and really upbeat about participating in this program, makes me feel more at peace and I would really like to get to know a person who has experience with this. I think what would make this a valuable experience for each of us is to share common and personal facts.” 




“The word mentor is a lifesaver for me! I really need a mentor, someone who I could talk to about my life and interests, and help understand my level of knowledge. But mainly, to get a spark into my future wantings.”





Mentor Receives $500,000 Grant To Pursue E-Mentoring And Research Initiatives

iCouldBe is delighted to announce our strategic partnership with MENTOR and Johns Hopkins University for an e-mentoring initiative and research on youth inequity during COVID-19. Following are a few highlights from the recent press release:

“MENTOR today announced that the organization received a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s Pathways Portfolio.

“This key philanthropic investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation fuels our work with proven, innovative partners to respond to the needs of the youth mentoring field and educators in the face of the physical isolation caused by COVID-19,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR.

“As COVID continues to disrupt mentoring relationships, iCouldBe is leveraging our twenty years of virtual mentoring experience to support and build a learning community with six previously in-person mentoring programs—BBBS Palm Beach and Martin Counties, CIS Kent Washington, CIS San Antonio, Fresno Unified School District, Latin American Association and STOKED Mentoring,” said Katie Schrauth, Executive Director of iCouldBe. “This funding ensures hundreds of young people retain access to mentors to build social capital and, with our partners, we will contribute to the research that will inform sustainability and growth of the mentoring field.”

Read more here

iCouldBe Statement on #BlackLivesMatter and Racial Justice

To Our iCouldBe Community:

How are you?

Like so many of you, we are grieving, angry, disappointed and exhausted to find ourselves once again facing glaring systemic injustice in our country. Our hearts are broken for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and the many murdered innocent Black people before them.

At iCouldBe we unequivocally support the broad need for systemic change and racial justice in America. We also know that it’s critical to engage in our own self-assessment. We must examine our individual and collective privilege and what that means in the way we work with each other and how we serve our mentees. It’s important that all youth-serving organizations ask hard, and often uncomfortable, questions, especially white leadership since up to 80% of nonprofits are run by white executives. And it’s imperative that we don’t just ask these questions now when racial injustice is dominating the news, but continually as an integral part of our work.

What is iCouldBe asking of the thousands of young people in our program? What are all of us in the youth development, youth leadership and mentoring fields asking of the kids we serve?

We ask mentees to stay in school, but their schools are not adequately funded to provide the structure and support that most adults would demand for their own children.  We ask mentees to apply to college, but we know that high tuition costs and institutional barriers keep many people from earning their degrees. We ask mentees to explore and prepare for careers even though if they achieve their post-secondary education goals and apply for a job in their field of choice, they will likely be paid less than white peers and overlooked for promotions.

What. Are. We. Doing?

At iCouldBe we grapple with these questions and continually evaluate and reassess our approach and our programs to make the most significant impact.

But the work is never done—and it shouldn’t be. As an organization that supports a community of largely Black and Brown students, we must fight against systems that don’t support, and are often hostile to, our mentees. Black lives matter not just in moments of crisis in the spotlight, but in the everyday work when no one is watching. It’s our duty to constantly re-evaluate what we are as a mentoring organization, and to provide space for each member of our team and our community to assess, challenge, and evolve our professional and personal beliefs and actions.

Where do we go from here?

We invite our partners, mentees, and mentors to join us in conversation and collaboration as we commit to the following goals:

  • Approve the pending succession plan proposal to transition the Executive Director position to M. Michelle Derosier, our current Chief Program Officer. Kate Schrauth, Executive Director, believes, “It is time to lift up and prepare our Black and Brown colleagues and trusted advisors to lead the movement that has, in fact, always been theirs to lead. In early February, I reached out to Michelle to ask her to be my partner in a succession plan that would result in her promotion to the Executive Director position. She took her time to reflect and pray and now, together, we will make it happen.”
  • In summer 2020, members of the iCouldBe Board are engaging in a training series that focuses on best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion in board recruitment and retention. The board is committed to equitable board recruitment and ensuring diverse leadership.
  • To our mentees: We will work to expand your voices in our strategy and decision making, by inviting you to have a seat at the table with the Board of Directors, management and through more frequent focus group interactions.
  • To ensure our work does no harm to the youth we serve, iCouldBe will engage with our youth and experts in the fields of mental health and wellness, and trauma informed youth services to analyze and improve our curriculum and programs.

Where we go from here is, we admit our flaws, we enact the change we control, we speak truth to power, and we fight for justice that has so long been denied. Above all, we must show up for young people to support them in reaching their goals and to amplify their voices.




Meet iCouldBe’s Summer Interns!

This past April iCouldBe was selected to host two high school interns who applied to the AIME Summer Internship Program in California. For this internship program students applied, were interviewed and the students accepted earned scholarships and course credits for their efforts. For six weeks interns Rachel and Ahmed joined our team to focus on mentor recruitment, social media and a full curricular revision. From the start it was our intention to involve Rachel and Ahmed in the organizations’ most rigorous projects and to avoid assigning them basic administrative duties. To their great credit, Ahmed and Rachel did not disappoint! Their work ethic, communications and networking skills surpassed our expectations and their work was of the highest quality and a tremendous help. We feel so fortunate for their service to iCouldBe and wish them success as they enter their senior year in high school. We know they will both go on to do great things for many years to come.

Meet Rachel

My Internship Experience:

Hi, my name is Rachel and I am a rising senior in high school. I was looking for an internship opportunity for the summer and saw that my high school was offering business opportunities. So I went through the application and interview process and was accepted into the program. Then I was matched with iCouldBe through the program because they saw my interests included networking and communicating with people.

Through my internship at iCouldBe, I was able to learn more about the mentor/mentee relationship and why it’s important to have one. Because iCouldBe is located on the other side of the country for me, I have been working at home, contacting the staff through emails and calls. Although I have been working remotely, there are many advantages and flexibility that comes with this privilege.

This internship experience was meaningful because I was able to learn more about myself and I was also able to gain work experience inside a company. I was able to work on skills like collaboration and communication as I still had to work with other people despite being remote. There were multiple tasks where my partner and I had to rely on each other for information and data. I have had a great time interning for iCouldBe, whether it has been going through the iCouldBe curriculum, attending webinars, or analyzing survey results.

Why iCouldBe Matters:

iCouldBe is a program that not only emphasizes mentor and mentee relationships, but also aids in planning students’ futures. It’s a program that I would recommend for all high schools, because all students can benefit from the service that it provides. At my high school, everyone graduates and goes to college, but often we are confused with our goals and plans for the future. iCouldBe is an outlet that can help students find their passions and dreams. There are also helpful tips like writing cover letters and building resumes. I believe that it would benefit everyone and help create a stronger base for a successful career and life!

Meet Ahmed

My Internship Experience:

Hello, my name is Ahmed and I am interning with The experience from this internship has been amazing. From the beginning, I had the chance to further develop my soft skills and other skills that I’ll need for any job. Reaching out for support, communication and collaboration have been the most important things throughout this internship.

The most important factor of this internship was that I was treated as an adult, not just an intern. Everyone at iCouldBe cared about my opinion and reviewed my feedback which made me feel like I am working with professionals and not only adults who are trying to make interns work. It was my pleasure working with such professional people that made me feel that I can be important and can create change anywhere I go. Thank you iCouldBe staff.

Why iCouldBe Matters:

Mentoring in high schools is the most needed thing right now. High school teaches us a lot of things but not about our future. A mentoring program in every school would be able to help students be independent in life after school. We need mentoring programs like iCouldBe.

I think that my school needs a program like iCouldBe because there are not enough counselors in the school to help everyone. With iCouldBe, students would have the opportunity to learn about interests and hobbies. The fear of failure after high school is dangerous and mentoring is the way to get past that fear.

iCouldBe can help with much more. I know top students who have the grades, but they don’t know what they want to do after high school. Really smart students are lost in all the choices after graduation. iCouldBe helps improve perspective and thoughts about life after high school.

Welcome two new iCouldBe board members!

We are delighted to announce that we have two new members on the iCouldBe Board of Directors. Sy brings expertise in multimedia strategy and producing social-justice focused content and Matt brings expertise in non-profit finance.

Sy AbuduSy Abudu

Digital & Multimedia Strategist – New York Civil Liberties Union

Sy Abudu is a Brooklyn-based multimedia strategist who specializes in producing educational and social justice-focused content. With nearly a decade of experience in the nonprofit and education sectors, she is currently digital and multimedia strategist for the New York affiliate of the ACLU, where she produces video, motion graphics, design, and photo content. Sy earned a BFA in film and television from New York University. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife, Kait, and their cat, Pesto.

Matthew Estersohn

CPA – Marks Paneth LLP

Matt is a senior manager with the Nonprofit, Government and Healthcare group of Marks Paneth LLP. Matt specializes in providing audit and tax services and has extensive experience with schools, social service agencies, advocacy organizations, cultural institutions, community development organizations and private foundations. He has led training seminars in various accounting and auditing matters for nonprofits. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and has a bachelors degree in Economics from Cornell University.

Welcome Sy and Matt to the iCouldBe team!