Here is a letter from one of icouldbe’s valued mentors, Darren – he talks about his first days as a mentor, his first connections with students, and what the experience has brought him in nearly two years of being an icouldbe mentor.
January 1st 2009 – It was the first day of the New Year, and one of my New Year resolutions was to get more involved in community service and volunteering. I had always had a desire to volunteer for a non-profit organization, but with my hectic work and travel schedule, it was difficult to physically go somewhere and volunteer locally. But the New Year gave me the determination to find something that not only fit with my schedule, but also really enabled me to make a difference in someone’s life.
I searched and searched and searched, but I just couldn’t find something that was a good fit. Finally, I was somehow lucky enough to stumble upon icouldbe.org, an organization that provides a platform for e-Mentoring. The opportunity seemed too good to be true – the entire program was run online! That meant I could mentor up to five students – whether I was at home, at work, or traveling. I went straight to the website, www.icouldbe.org, to understand more about the organization. The website was full of data and research about the success of e-Mentoring, and I was impressed by the scale of curriculum and programs offered. It was easy to sign-up, and before I knew it I was an e-mentor.
At first I was a little skeptical about the program and my role as a mentor: Would I even get picked by any students to be a mentor? Would the students take time to chat with me? Would I be able to help them complete their assignments?…
The answer to each of my questions turned out to be a resounding “Yes!” Immediately after creating my personal profile, three students asked me to be their mentor. And after shooting them an introductory email, each of them wrote back to me, told me where they stood in the college application process, and began asking me questions about their career interests. I was also pleasantly surprised to find an online community of other mentors and students actively engaged in message boards and forums, giving tips to other members and providing group advice to students.
One of the reasons I love mentoring for icouldbe.org is because of how fulfilling I find it. By the time the summer of 2009 arrived, two of my mentees had graduated from high school and were about to start their college adventures. Before they left, I received messages from them thanking me for my advice on their career interests and college application process. My other mentee was a Junior in high school, but actually asked if I could continue communication throughout the summer. I cannot tell you how touched I was by this simple act – knowing that I had made a strong relationship with a student and that she appreciated my time and advice.
I have continued to volunteer for icouldbe.org since that time, and look forward to the start of another school year. With August being “National Back to School Month” I highly recommend signing up now to be a mentor with icouldbe.org. Students will be back in school soon, and I know they will truly appreciate your time, advice, and relationship.