Category Archives: Students

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

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icouldbe.org Mentees Participate in Youth, I.N.C.’s Trading Day for Kids

This year, icouldbe.org partnered with Youth, I.N.C. (Improving Nonprofits for Children) for their annual Trading Day for Kids. Youth, I.N.C., a NYC-based organization, engages with the city’s brightest minds and leaders and connects them to grassroots organizations, like icouldbe.org, that deliver opportunities to our most vulnerable children. On October 25th, Youth, I.N.C.’s business partner, Canaccord Genuity,  pledged to donate 100% of the day’s commission proceeds to Youth, I.N.C. and its non-profit network. Not only did the event raise $950,000, but top executives from Canaccord Genuity sat down to discuss financial careers with student participants.

ImageIn addition to Trading Day for Kids, which took place on October 25, Canaccord Genuity also hosted a “Mentor Day” on Tuesday, October 23. Thirty high school students, including five icouldbe.org mentees, spent the day at the firm learning about the financial services industry. Students had the opportunity to sit down with a panel of representatives from different divisions within the company as well as senior executives from the firm. This format enabled students to engage in thoughtful conversation with the firm’s professionals and also provided a snapshot of a career in finance and what the company’s day-to-day activities looked like.

The students were given some topics to think about in the days leading up to the event, which led to thought provoking conversation between the students and the company’s financial professionals. Topics discussed included:

  • Stocks the students thought had value and why
  • The US economy and where it is headed
  • The 2012 Presidential election
  • 2013 stock market predictions

Trading Day raised over $950,000 for grassroots non-profit organizations in NYC, but beyond that it provided a once in a lifetime experience for our mentees. We are proud to have partnered with such a great organization that does so much good in our city.

Oh, and did we mention that our mentees got to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ at the end of Trading Day? All in all, we all had an unforgettable experience.

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Exciting updates from icouldbe

The new school year is well underway, and we’d like to take this opportunity to give a great big welcome to all of our mentees, mentors teachers, and program and corporate partners!! This year is already one of our most exciting ever and the support from our entire online community is incredibly inspiring.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

  • This year we will serve 3,400 students in the icouldbe.org program – that’s a 60% increase over last year!
  • 2,500 mentors have volunteered to work with our mentees.  Donating 1 hour per week means that, together, we will provide more than 75,000 hours of mentoring, life-coaching and support to students who need us most!  Thank you all for your time, commitment and dedication – we couldn’t do it without you.
  • Exciting new partnerships are also underway this year. We’re happy to announce that the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), NYSE Euronext, Aspire to LEAD in partnership with  AT&T’s Aspire Mentoring Academy, and the Fund for NYC Public School’s Young Men’s Initiative will sponsor 1,165 new mentees this year.  In addition, E*Trade has renewed it’s partnership with icouldbe.org for the 8th year, sponsoring 650 students around the country.  Also, more than 1,000 students from the California Partnership Academies will also be served to meet their mentoring mandate.
  • Columbia Business School’s Small Business Consulting Group has selected icouldbe.org for a consulting project that will help us reach an even broader national audience so that we can continue to serve thousands of new students every year.

More new partnerships and exciting projects are coming up soon and we’ll have much more to share over the coming months, so stayed tuned.  In the meantime, we’re here for you and always welcome your ideas and advice, so please be in touch.

We wish all of you a very successful year and hope that all of our mentee mentor matches prove to be highly fulfilling experiences for everyone.  We look forward to providing the very best e-mentoring program and are grateful beyond words for the support of our entire community!

Kate Schrauth

Executive Director

icouldbe.org

And, The Teacher of the Year award goes to…

We’re wrapping up the 2011-2012 school year here at icouldbe.org, and there are a few mentors, students and teachers who stand out!

We’re pleased to announce that Dana Braun is the recipient of our Teacher of the Year award!

Dana is a teacher from Westminster High School in California, and has been teaching in various capacities since 1989. Dana taught Biology and Physiology to sophomores and seniors for 15 years at Westminster, a California Partnership Academy (CPA). When the founding CPA coordinator retired, Dana took over her position to lead the Academy.

In 2007, Dana met the icouldbe staff at the annual CPA Conference where icouldbe delivers a workshop every year.  Dana has been bringing icouldbe.org to her Juniors ever since.

This year, Dana motivated her students each week to log on, communicate with their mentors, work on the curricular units focused on college and career prep, and receive valuable, personalized feedback from their mentors. The best reflection of Dana’s skills lies in her students’ outcomes: her current class has been chosen as one of the three Most Successful Classes of the 2011-2012 School Year. Here’s what Dana has to say about the icouldbe.org mentoring program:

  1. What role do you play with the students and mentors who work with the icouldbe.org program? I am a teacher as well as academy coordinator. The students are with me for one of their junior Career Technical Education classes, and the icouldbe.org program is delivered in my class.
  2. What makes a good icouldbe.org teacher?  I regularly monitor my students’ progress with their mentors on the curricular activities and I read over some of the conversations between mentors and mentees.  It’s critical that as a teacher I help facilitate good mentor and mentee interactions.
  3. Why do you think online mentoring is important for today’s youth? Online mentors give students access to someone who is out in the business world right now. Mentors can give students support and guidance during important career and college decisions. The great thing about online mentoring is that it is safe, and students can access the program at any hour, even if they are unable to work on the curriculum during the scheduled time period each week.
  4. Do any memories stand out to you this year from the students who worked with icouldbe.org mentors? I have several. I had a mentor that worked with a student who finished the entire 10 units in less than a semester. Another great memory was the excitement of one of my students who found a mentor who shared her interests in sports as a career. I also love when mentors are reassuring to students who express doubt about their skills. The vast majority of mentors are always able to find that personal,self-esteem building quality that can truly help my students gain the confidence they need to succeed.
  5. What do you hope for the future of your students? I hope they find their personal path, achieve to their potential, and reach their goals. In regards to icouldbe.org, I hope they long remember what they learned in the curriculum, the activities they completed and the guidance they received from their mentors.

Photo Credit: vistamommy on Flickr’s Creative Commons

icouldbe.org STEM mentors will help students with science projects this year!

We’re very excited to announce a new partnership that will provide students working on science projects with dedicated online mentors in STEM fields!

In case you’re unaware, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There is a dire need in the U.S. for people to fill STEM careers; there are many science and technology job openings, but not enough people to recruit. A major place where this problem can be addressed is within our education system.

There is an amazing initiative happening in upstate New York called the Dr. Nelson Ying Tri Region Science & Engineering Fair (Ying TRSEF). The fair was created to allow students to explore their talents and challenge their minds in STEM fields. It’s available to students in grades 5-12 throughout 24 counties, which until 2006 had no regional access to the International Science and Engineer Fair.

This year, a group of these students will have the help of eMentors (provided by icouldbe.org!) during the creation of their science projects.

Ying TRSEF is engaging in a pilot program with icouldbe.org to provide students building their science projects with volunteer eMentors employed in STEM careers. These volunteers will mentor the students through the process of preparing for the fair on March 17 and 18. Using the icouldbe.org discussion boards, each mentor will help her mentee identify the science fair topic/question, make a plan to gather data to answer said question, understand ethical and safety procedures and analyze data and draw conclusions.

At the conclusion of the fair, mentors and mentees will continue the mentoring partnership by transitioning to the icouldbe.org curriculum. The mentors will then guide students through units that will help them identify future goals specific to post-secondary education and careers in various sectors.

We’re hopeful that this is just the beginning of a much bigger initiative to mentor students and create an interest in STEM careers. With mentors who already have vast experience and a passion for jobs in these fields, who better to pair with students to help them realize their capabilities and dreams?

Next month we’ll post an update from the science fair on March 17-18. We can’t wait to see what these kids create!

For more information on Ying TRSEF, visit www.yingtrsef.org.

Photo credits:
science lab counter. March 6, 2009 Meghan McDonald on Flickr.com Creative Commons

Aboriginal Students Embark on eMentoring Personal Quest

Here at icouldbe.org, we’re excited to watch one of our new mentoring partnerships unfold with the University of British Columbia (UBC). Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and through the use of our own online platform, Aboriginal students in British Columbia (BC) are being paired right now with online mentors!

The UBC Faculty of Medicine, UBC eHealth Strategy Office, and a handful of BC school districts and First Nations communities are working together to connect university students with young aboriginal students in the province.

Aboriginal youth are significantly underrepresented in post-secondary education, especially in fields of health science. This eMentoring program aims to increase representation by supporting young aboriginal students to develop mentoring relationships with university students currently pursuing careers in health. This online mentoring relationship gives these youth someone to turn to, ask questions of, and gain an understanding about a health-related school choices and potential career options. Mentors can support discussions related to future challenges and opportunities such as time management and exploring post-secondary opportunities as well as provide positive role modeling for Aboriginal youth. The program will target grades 6-12 to allowing students to consider their aspirations early and ensure that students will have the potential to pursue their academic and career plans as they graduate from high school.

Not only will all mentoring take place online, but the program also boasts some changes from icouldbe.org’s traditional curriculum to accommodate Aboriginal culture, beliefs and traditions. The adapted curriculum is called an eMentoring Personal Quest (pictured below) and is divided into nine units, starting with first impressions and online safety and finishing with the transition to post-secondary education. Along the way, mentors will help their mentees gain the necessary confidence and skills to pursue a degree after high school.

Program funding began in April 2010, the online platform went live this past September, and the project has been full speed ahead since November, already well on its way to surpass a goal to recruit 50 mentors and 100 mentees. We are so excited to have the opportunity to work in such a unique partnership and broaden our own knowledge of mentoring within different communities and cultures!

Welcome back students and mentors!

Fall is in the air, and students are back in the classrooms; otherwise known as our favorite time of the year here at icouldbe.org! We’d like to offer a big welcome back to students and mentors, both those that are returning and those that are new this year.

We already have 600 students registered so far this year, and another 1,200 will be registering in the coming weeks.   For the 2011-2012 school year, our goal is to serve 2,500 students.

We couldn’t be more pleased to sign up so many students for the icouldbe.org program. This means more students will receive one-on-one attention from an adult mentor, who can give them help with their studies and offer support as they begin to dream up all the possibilities available to them after high school graduation – all through our online program.

All these new students mean we have a need for more mentors. So we’re putting out a call-to-action to all of YOU to sign up to become an online mentor!

In case you’re not sure what being an icouldbe.org mentor entails, here are some quick facts:

  • Mentoring is carried out completely online. Mentors work with students through a series of online activity modules for the duration of the school year, as students progress through the icouldbe.org curriculum.
  • Mentors communicate with students using icouldbe.org’s activities, email system and discussion boards.
  • Mentors are paired with students who have an interest in their career field.
  • Mentors only need to commit one hour per week, per mentee. You can mentor anywhere you have access to a computer, whether it be at home, at work or on your daily commute!

We’re currently in need of mentors in a few specific career fields: Health Services, Media Communications and Engineering. However, we are always accepting mentors in every occupation!

Please head to our website for more information if you are interested in becoming a mentor. We are also preparing to set up several webinars in the coming weeks to educate more on online mentoring. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please email Michelle Derosier for more information.

You could make a huge difference in a young person’s life – all through a convenient, easy-to-use online program. We hope to hear from many of you soon! Many thanks to all of our supporters and mentors!

Photo credits:
Computer in photo class. August 26, 2010 Lauren Coleman on Flickr.com Creative Commons