Monthly Archives: April 2011

icouldbe.org Board Members, Greg Rutstein and Elliot Zibel commit to bring mentoring to Connecticut!

A new commitment from two of icouldbe.org’s board members brings Connecticut to over 50% towards the state goal in our 50 State Campaign!

Greg Rutstein and Elliot Zibel are long-time friends who grew up together in West Hartford, Connecticut.  As board members and advocates of icouldbe.org, they have decided to become our CT Campaign Champions.

Their commitment comes from their knowledge that while they had many opportunities and plenty of resources available to them in West Hartford, their peers just a few miles away in Hartford lived in a completely different world  — a world that didn’t always provide the same benefits.  Now, as successful businessmen, Elliot and Greg are giving back.  They want to level the playing field for kids growing up in the tough neighborhoods of Hartford by launching an icouldbe.org mentoring program.  For young people to have access to mentors to guide them through their challenging high school years and help them make real plans for their future post-secondary educational and career opportunities, we can all work to build positive, fulfilled lives.

Together, Elliot and Greg are spreading the word about online mentoring to their families, friends and colleagues.  They know that icouldbe.org can lower dropout rates, provide needed support to each individual student served and improve each student’s confidence and academic performance.

In addition to being a CT Campaign Champion, Elliot has also committed donated $4,000 – half of the initial goal for the entire state of Connecticut!  That means Elliot will provide a dollar-for dollar match on the first $4,000 we raise from the residents and supporters of our Connecticut based campaign. As of today, we need to raise a remaining $3,970 in order to launch a brand new mentoring program in Connecticut!   

If you are from Connecticut, make your donation today and spread the word!

If you live in another state and want your community to be the first to reach the $8,000 goal, contact us today and we can help you get started.  Contact Jeremy Weinstein at Jeremy@icouldbe.org to learn how to become a champion for your state.

A huge thank you to Greg and Elliot for providing this generous support to icouldbe.org. We love their story, and are so pleased they are part of the icouldbe.org team.

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Why I Mentor: Jeff Valentine

Here’s another Volunteer Week story from one of icouldbe.org’s dedicated mentors, Jeff Valentine. Also, check out our recent post on Jeff’s commitment to match donations for our 50 State Campaign – he’s the “champion” for New Jersey!

From Jeff Valentine:

How it came to be that I became involved with icouldbe.org –

In late 2006 I had an opportunity through my employer to become familiar with a variety of non-profits affiliated with Youth-Inc. which is effectively a non-profit assisting the development of non-profits.  I had always wanted to work with a non-profit focused on mentoring, though I didn’t really didn’t have an appetite or time for traveling around the five boroughs of the New York City area to meet face-to-face with kids.

Upon looking through the materials provided by Youth-Inc., I read about the services provided by icouldbe.org and its web-based mentoring platform.  It was a eureka moment for me as the icouldbe.org program, curriculum, and track record for serving kids was strong, and its web based platform resolved my prior excuses surrounding logistical constraints.  The more I learned about and became associated with icouldbe.org, the more inspired I became with it’s potential for providing broader and expanded service. 

Being raised in a small southern town, I thought about how wonderful it would be to be able to reach beyond urban cities and include smaller rural communities with its resources.  Fast forward to 2011 and the organization has evolved, expanded its scope, and is stronger than ever.  I am proud to part of icouldbe.org and look forward to the years ahead.

Why I Mentor: Wendy Siegelman

It’s finally here: National Volunteer Week! We look forward to this week year-round, because it’s a time when we can honor and recognize all of our incredibly important volunteers – our mentors. If it weren’t for them, icouldbe.org just wouldn’t be possible. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of our icouldbe mentors!

We will be posting several stories this week from our volunteers called “Why I Mentor.” These stories are truly inspiring, and might even show you why you might want to think about becoming a mentor.

From Wendy Siegelman:

Why I Mentor –

Mentoring is such a personal and fulfilling way to give and receive. One of my first mentors was a dance teacher in high school who had performed with the Ballets Russes and taught me about determination and hard work. I started mentoring a few years ago because I wanted to help children who didn’t have a steady adult presence in their life or who needed a trusted person to communicate with. I’ve been amazed over the years at the wisdom, generosity and resilience of the children I’ve mentored and by how much they teach me. I’ve spent my career developing internet products, and I love how icouldbe.org leverages technology to bridge people across location and time. Because of the flexibility of the online platform I consider mentoring something that is now a permanent part of my life.