Category Archives: National Mentoring Month

We’re off to a busy 2016!

2016 National Mentoring Summit in DC

The 2016 National Mentoring Summit in Washington DC was a success! Our Executive Director Kate Schrauth and COO Wendy Siegelman along with Minchau “MC” Dinh, the co-founder and Chapter leader for DataKind DC presented our research from a 2015 project at the workshop, “What Makes Mentoring Relationships Successful? The Answer was in our Data.”

There was a great turn out at the workshop with insightful questions and dialogue about using data analysis to improve mentoring relationships. Kate, Wendy and Program Director Michelle Derosier, met many inspiring leaders in the mentoring field and we are excited to explore new partnerships!

Linked Learning Convention in San Diego

We are also proud to announce, our curriculum developer Madeline Giscombe participated on a panel in February at the Linked Learning Convention in San Diego!

Linked Learning integrates academics with career-based learning and real world workplace experiences, and aligns with iCouldBe’s mission to provide at risk students with a community of professional mentors, empowering teens to stay in school, plan for future careers, and achieve in life.

Madeline and partners from SAP, Skyline High School, Career Ladders Project, and Berkeley City College and other educational organizations presented how iCouldBe’s gamified mentoring program helps develop the next generation virtual and STEAM workforce.

We look forward to continuing discussions with the wonderful panelists and partners  from the Linked Learning Convention, expert practitioners, researchers, and corporate supporters from the National Mentoring Summit and the engaged audience members from both as we continue creating meaningful learning and real-world experiences for our youth!

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National Mentoring Month is over, but icouldbe is just getting started

One of our favorite months of the year is over. It seems like the New Year just began, but here we are a week into February, already on the other side of National Mentoring Month. And what a month it was! Teachers from both the East and West Coasts contributed to the icouldbe blog, our Executive Director Kate Schrauth headed to DC to take part in the National Mentoring Summit, and to top it all off, we hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire, which led to some great discussion around online mentoring, mentoring the next generation, and the role of corporate volunteerism.

National Mentoring Month may be over, but February promises to be a great month, too. Every week this month we’ll highlight some of our partners: our teachers, volunteers, mentors, and schools. We appreciate all the work that these groups of people do for icouldbe on a daily basis, and we want to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on and thank the individuals who go above and beyond to reach at-risk students and guide them towards success.

Stay tuned – we’ll be sharing a new post every week. First up later this week: Volunteer of the Year.

Please join us for an icouldbe Twitter Chat with AT&T Aspire

Please join the discussion for a Twitter Chat next week to celebrate National Mentoring Month! On Wednesday, January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST, log on to Twitter, follow @icouldbeorg and jump in the conversation using the following hashtag:

#MentorNextGen

Our co-host will be one of our newer partners, AT&T Aspire (follow them on Twitter at @ATTAspire). AT&T Aspire is a high school success and workforce readiness initiative that is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments dedicated to helping high school students succeed.

Several AT&T employees who are volunteering their time as mentors to hundreds of students around the country will also join the chat, sharing their thoughts and experiences.

The chat will last one hour, during which time we’ll cover topics including: corporate volunteerism and online mentoring, mentoring the next generation’s workforce, personal mentoring stories, and more.

It’s simple and easy to join, just:

  1. Mark your calendars for January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST
  2. Log in to Twitter at the beginning of the chat and search for #MentorNextGen. This will keep you in the loop of what others are saying and what questions are being discussed.

If you have any questions about next week’s chat, don’t hesitate to contact us – leave a message in the comment section of this blog post or reach out to us on Twitter!

Thank Your Mentor Day: California Teacher Thanks icouldbe Mentors

On behalf of Hoover High School’s Academy of Information Technology (AOIT), I would like to wish all of the mentors in the icouldbe program a happy National Mentoring Month, and extend our thanks for all the time you put in helping our students. Our Academy has been part of the icouldbe program for over five years, and each year we have had 80-100 students participate in the program. As a College and Career Technical Educator, the icouldbe program has been instrumental in helping me to ensure that my students have a solid background in what it takes to choose, prepare for, and be successful in a career. The icouldbe curriculum has helped open doors for my students to view the larger world outside of their immediate community. The activities they complete have the greatest benefits in the areas of  communication, research, and planning.

Only a small percentage of my students are native English speakers. Most are currently English Learners, and many others are reclassified as English proficient. This makes communication, both verbal and written, a challenge. icouldbe offers these students a way to work on their language skills, especially learning to move from a casual language register to a more professional one. Likewise, students are able to improve both their academic and professional vocabulary which eventually helps them both in resume writing and in interviewing skills. The online and anonymous nature of the mentoring program helps these students to get comfortable quickly as they are less likely to feel they are being judged or put on the spot when they are not face to face with someone they do not know. This often helps the mentees build a better working relationship with their mentors more quickly.

Besides being non-native English speakers, the majority of my students are likely to be the first person in their families to go to college.  Having no experience in their families to draw on makes the varied experiences and stories of the mentors extremely valuable.  In addition, the goal setting activities, college research tools, and planning guides provided in the curriculum help to make the decision to go to college more real for the students.  Further, there are excellent tools for exploring and preparing for careers.  One of the beginning skills that the students often have not previously completed is resume writing.  They all start out with a very basic template to complete the exercise.  Over the course of the year, they take these barebones resumes and learn to add “power” words and language to them to make them better.  Many students begin to take up volunteer opportunities to add to the experience sections on their resumes as they learn how important this can be.

Mentors, although I know working online as opposed to working face to face has some distinct advantages, I also wish you could personally see the difference you make in many of these students’ lives.  You may not see it in their writing, but I have all the students complete an oral “exit interview” about their icouldbe experience.  The last question I ask each of them is what they would say to you if they met you face to face, and they invariably want to thank you for taking some time out of your lives to work with them.  I would like to thank you as well.

-Bryan Voeltner, Hoover High School in San Diego, California

Photo Credit: Ben Fredericson on Flickr's Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Ben Fredericson on Flickr’s Creative Commons

Bryan Voeltner is a teacher at Hoover High School in San Diego, California. He has worked there for 18 years and helped to found its small learning community, the Academy of Information Technology.

National Mentoring Month Spotlight: Bronx Teacher Shares icouldbe Experience

MS 254 in Bronx, New York would like to thank icouldbe for allowing our students to be a part of such an enlightening program for a second year. We have evolved from 30 students participating last year to 175 students participating this year. icouldbe provides an opportunity to empower students to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. There is not one fix for any student when trying to develop a connection between school and the future accomplishments within an adolescent mind, but icouldbe is the right fit for many students in our program. The students are developing skills that will allow them to make informed decisions about the path their future will take.

Students are reading, writing, and thinking about real life desires and possibilities they used to only associated with others. With the help of icouldbe, the students can now place themselves in those roles. Mentors are explaining how they use math and science as well as language and social studies in their daily lives and in their careers. Based on the conversations students are having with their mentors, the students are developing new ideas.

The mentors are phenomenal! If you are a mentor reading my blog post, let me thank you for giving your time and care to your mentees. I appreciate your answering their posts with feedback that helps them formulate goals that are attainable and make a connection between academics and the student’s chosen path. I was really impressed when one of our mentors reached out with concern about their mentee who had lost interest in posting. I was able to locate the student and discuss her mentor’s concern. Before, she felt like it was just a school commitment, but now she knows how much her mentor truly cares about her, her wellbeing, and her success.

icouldbe helps our students think about their dream and see their dream in order to live it.

-Ms. Frazier, MS 254 in Bronx, New York

Ms. Frazier is an educator from Conway, South Carolina currently teaching in the Bronx. She has 24 years of experience and is a life-long learner.Image

Thank your Mentor Day!

Today, January 26, 2012, is National Thank your Mentor Day! It seemed like a great time to turn to the students in the icouldbe.org program and find out what they have to say to their mentors.

Below is a selection of letters from mentees to their mentor in honor of Mentoring Month and Thank your Mentor Day. Their responses are truly touching and remind us that they are the reason we celebrate this month.

How are you thanking your mentor today?

A wordcloud of the letters from icouldbe.org mentees.

Dear leftyonly:

Thanks for everything you have taught until now.  You have given great evidence to me that I greatly accept.  With your help, I know that I can reach my job interest.  With you, I will be able to excel like you did.  I can’t show enough gratitude that I have because of your information.  I know that because of you I am prepared.

Your mentee, Junior 704

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Dear Team2win and Ms. Maria:

I thank you for mentoring me, and teaching me new things that I needed to know.  You taught me the ways I need to go to achieve my goals. Thank you for taking your time to mentor me. It is because of you that I know what jobs I want to do when I get older.  Having a mentor is good for me because they show me the way to go.

Nashare704

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Dear Mentor:

Thank you for being my mentor.  I would like you to write to me.  If we talked, I would answer all your emails and I will ask you a few questions.  Any advice you will give me I will try to achieve it. I would like to be an artist or dancer.  I could see by looking at your profile that you could give me good advice.

Kayla704

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Dear volunteer9:

I would like to thank you for your assistance.  I thank you for commenting on my work and telling me how I could do better.  Please help me get into Princeton, Harvard or Yale, similar to what you did for college.  Could you please email me things that could be further help to me?  Thank you for your time.

Marino 704

—–

erdoc11,

I really appreciate having a fantastic mentor like you! A student, especially during their junior and senior year, cherishes having someone to guide them throughout school. Your advice and advocacy has undeniably helped make decisions towards my future. One of the great aspects of having you as a mentor is that I have also became a more ecstatic and optimistic person. I am undeniably looking forward to having you as a mentor during my senior year as well.

With much gratitude,

Soyunhorcrux

—–

Dear Mentor,

Thank you so much! You have been a GREAT person to me and of much help!

Recently you told me that I should research things about documentaries in history and I think that a great idea. I’m wondering, how did you find out about this website? But yeah, this has been a great experience so far. I find it really gnarly that some people care about students and help them achieve what they want in life. I think it is also cool that you take time off your day and do this! So I hope you and your family and friends are doing great, and have a good day – and week – and month!

Sincerely, basedgod.

—–

Dear Mentor,

The purpose of this email is to thank you for being my mentor. I want to let you know that I really appreciate what you do for me because not many people take time to do what you do. I’m glad to have a mentor like you, because with your help more doors to opportunities are going to open for me and for that I thank you.

Sincerely, Chris

—–

I really appreciate you taking the time to review my work. It is very helpful and I really enjoy your feedback. Thank you so much for all your help, I believe that the information you provide will help me become a better person. Hope you’re having a good day!

—–

Hey, I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking your own time to be my mentor. I have really learned a lot and you have encouraged me to go into what I really want even more. I have learned a lot about what it takes to go into medicine and I am very grateful for that. I hope you could keep being my mentor and keep giving me great advice. Thanks a lot. 🙂

—–

Thank you for being such a great mentor, I really appreciate all the help and advice you’ve given me, it’s been a lot of help.  I want to say thanks for always reviewing my work so fast! I have a really good grade thanks to the fact that you review my work fast so I can move on. I’m really thankful for you, and I hope we can keep our relationship growing bigger and bigger.

Happy national mentor month!

Sincerely, liz25

—–

Happy National Mentor Month!!

I just wanted to say thank you for all your support and advice. You’ve really helped me think about my future and what I want to do with it. Thank you for helping me understand what I’m doing wrong or what I’m not doing to prepare myself for college. I really appreciate it and don’t know what I would have done without having questions answered, talk to you soon.

— Jess9