Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Mentoring Recruitment Goal for January!

We are so thrilled to report that we have reached our goal of recruiting 300 new mentors during January’s National Mentoring Month! Thanks to all our new mentors!

We are so excited to see all of the enthusiasm to help our kids and have decided to increase our goal to recruit another 200 mentors. We have almost 500 new students starting the program in the next few weeks, so the more support for all of them, the better! With 500 new mentors, all of our students will have the support they need to succeed!

So, please pass the word and invite your friends and colleagues to join us too – don’t forget, we’re on Facebook and Twitter, and would love to connect with you there!

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A thank you from Kate Schrauth to all our mentors

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!

Very Sincerely,

Kate Schrauth

Miss Michigan 2010: Who was your mentor?

We spoke to Katie LaRoche, Miss Michigan 2010, for Mentoring Month. Katie told us all about her most influential mentor, Perry Woodard Conway.


I would say without a doubt that my greatest mentor since the age of two has been Perry Woodard Conway.  I grew up spending more waking hours at her little dance studio in Bay City, my hometown, than anywhere else.  She planted the seed that helped me develop the work ethic necessary to attain my goals. But more importantly, she exemplified a true compassion for people that was beyond beautiful, a compassion that brought her an inner peace I sought to hold.

 
I could never have imagined that I would get the opportunity to use all the years spent studying dance as a powerful tool in sharing an important message, one of reality coupled with hope.  The piece I performed on the Miss America stage this January was an artistic expression of my journey coming to understand the injustice that takes place in our world.  When performing this specific routine, my mind takes me back to the villages, to the slums, to the people from different corners of the world that have changed my perspective on life.  There is a great deal going on in our world that need not be, and it has been a blessing to be able to use music and dance to give others a glimpse of this reality—and maybe, just maybe, inspire a few to take action.

 
Miss Perry showed me the way to compassion and provided a means to share it with others.  Without her I would not be the person I am.

Second Lieutenant Jason Nichols: Who was your mentor?

For Mentoring Month, we are continuing to hear from people all over the U.S., learning about their mentoring experiences and the mentors who have greatly influenced their lives. We spoke with Jason Nichols, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, who is currently attending flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama. During his flight training, Jason discovered a true mentor in his instructor pilot Mr. Martin.

2nd LT Jason Nichols with his instructor pilot Mr. Martin

 

From 2nd LT Jason Nichols:

I had an instructor pilot named Mr. Martin. He had been teaching the initial part of flight training for about 25 years, so needless to say, he knew what he was doing. To be honest, he made my life rather miserable, my days long and stressful for 8 weeks straight. However, it wasn’t until the end that I realized what he had done. He had taken me from a regular college graduate and had given me the basic skills to not only fly a helicopter, but the beginning qualities of an aviator. As I progressed through the subsequent phases of flight training, many of his lessons and “tedious” tasks held true, even through the more advanced portions. While I strongly disliked him for it at the time, he taught me more than I could have ever known. The work ethic that he pushed me to adopt and the thick skin he helped me grow will help me throughout my time here at flight school, and most likely into the Army. I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Martin for what he does, and all the hard work that he puts into making us young aviators the best we can be.

Respectfully,
2LT Jason Nichols

Rusty DeWees: Who was your mentor?

Throughout Mentoring Month, we will be posting a few stories from notable people around the country, whose lives have been influenced by mentors, or who have mentored others. Our first post comes from Rusty DeWees, also known as “The Logger,” a New England-area comedian, director, producer… and a multitude of other things.

Rusty with a big fan of his show (photo courtesy of thelogger.com)

From Rusty DeWees:

January is National Mentoring Month. So hear this.

I mentored a fella starting when he was twelve, through his senior year. His school had a mentoring program that called for students to hang out and shadow someone in the workplace and learn about their job. When the program ended, Nick and I kept meeting once a week, often more, and we kept hanging out until he graduated and left town for college. We’re still in touch.

I can tell you, I’m an actor, and Nick hung with me on sets, at radio and television studios, in deal-negotiating meetings, and at my live stage shows. He ended up being House Manager for my stage shows quite a few times. Nick is presently in New York City having a good deal of success striking out as a writer and filmmaker. Seems like Nick and my time hanging might have at the least pointed him somewhere in the direction toward what he might end up being interested in and involved with through the rest of his life.

Nick came from a solid family with parents full of strong ideals and attitudes, so time with him wasn’t spent presenting the simple fundamentals of life; time with Nick was spent simply being friends.

If I may wholeheartedly choose to use a cliché – I learned more from Nick then Nick learned from me … I’d bet the farm on that.

When folks volunteer they often end up saying something like “It makes me feel good about myself, like I’ve contributed something.” I’m not into that, I did not offer time mentoring so I could feel good about myself. I offered my time mentoring because … well, connection is key. Turns out too that I’ve had some of the best times of my life mentoring.

Thanks to boloco for a generous season of giving!

Back in August, we were fortunate enough to participate in boloco and Magic Hat’s Vermont Pairing is Caring event. boloco donated the proceeds from the event to our 50 State Campaign, bringing Vermont closer to receiving an online mentoring program in one of their schools.

This December, boloco again decided to help us reach our campaign goals – this time in three different states.

boloco held their 2nd annual 12 Days of Giving at locations in Burlington, Vermont; Concord, New Hampshire; Hanover, New Hampshire (Dartmouth College); and Medford, Massachusetts (Tufts University). Each day, in the spirit of giving during the holiday season, they donated 50 cents from the sale of every burrito, bowl and salad to a different nonprofit. You can see more here.

icouldbe.org was featured one day at each of the four participating locations, raising money towards implementing our mentoring program into Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts schools. Not only did we raise important funds – a total of $625.50, plus additional cash donations! – we were able to speak to local patrons about our campaign, educate them on the benefits of online mentoring, and encourage them to become a mentor to a student in need.

So thanks again boloco, for your continual efforts to bring online mentoring to students in New England!