In honor of January, 25, 2011 – National Thank Your Mentor Day – Kate Schrauth sends the following thank you to all icouldbe.org mentors:
Dear icouldbe.org mentors,
Because of you another child has been mentored. Because of you, our volunteer mentors across the nation, a child has been given the gift of care and guidance and a promise of a life of hope and meaning.
This National Mentoring Month, and especially during Thank Your Mentor Day, the staff at icouldbe.org want to send our deepest thanks and gratitude to all of our volunteer mentors, without whom our efforts to serve at-risk youth would be impossible. Ten years ago, we had a crazy dream that we could recruit hundreds of volunteers to help our most vulnerable kids discover their dreams and use their talents to create meaningful and fulfilled lives. And now, because of you, our dream has become reality. Some questioned if we could do it, others scoffed at our ideas, but you and all your peer mentors believed that this dream was worth fighting for.
Today, icouldbe.org is a strong and growing organization. We have served 20,000 students and are working diligently to grow our program to serve 5,000 students annually over the next two years. Your constant care and support has made all of this possible, so thank you for all you do each week.
We also wanted to reflect on a notable 2010. As always, we are truly grateful for the support of our school partners, funders and extended network of mentors, which represent extraordinary cross-sector efforts on behalf of thousands of young people in this country.
We were proud to launch our partnership with Monster.com and to co-create our new iSucceed campaign. New partnerships with public schools, community colleges, universities, workforce investment boards, state departments of education and economic development councils and corporate employers are underway throughout New York State, California, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas.
This spring, icouldbe.org’s research detailing the impact of our online mentoring program on the vulnerable kids we serve was published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. Our independent research team from Drexel University developed a multi-year evaluation that monitored the progress of more that 1,500 students in the program and the findings clearly demonstrate the power of online mentoring. We see statistically significant improvements in self-efficacy for all students, but especially those who are the most vulnerable and self-identify as hopeless.
This means that because of the care, support and guidance of their online mentors, the students have a highly improved ability to cope in their very challenging worlds where poverty, violence, drugs and dropouts are the normal order of the day. Because of our program and our volunteers, our kids have practiced and developed skills that have moved their decision-making abilities from external sources (needing to be told what to do) to internal sources (making good life decisions for themselves.)
Last month America’s Promise released a new report, Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, revealing some remarkable work that has been done to lower the national dropout rate. However, significant challenges remain. Close to two million students still attend the nation’s dropout factories. icouldbe.org knows that our mentoring program is significantly helping our students complete high school and prepare for post-secondary education and meaningful careers. But we need to provide our program to more students and that will require more mentors. Throughout 2011, we will work to engage 1,000 new mentors.
As you know, January is National Mentoring Month and we launched a massive mentor recruitment initiative to bring on 300 new mentors. We’re happy to announce the fulfillment of this goal! A follow up campaign will begin in February to recruit the remaining 700 new mentors throughout the winter and spring. We’ll need you to help us spread the word using any social media outlets you have and by engaging your networks of friends family and colleagues to register to become mentors.
From all of us at icouldbe.org, we thank you and wish you a very happy and healthy New Year!