Tag Archives: at-risk

A recap on last night’s #MentorNextGen Twitter chat

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday evening for #mentornextgen! Last night, icouldbe hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire and we were thrilled by the participation.  We chatted about volunteering through your employer, what motivates you as a mentor, the benefits of online mentoring, what the future holds for the next generation’s workforce, and much more.

If you weren’t able to participate, but are interested in following the conversation, check out the Storify we created for last night’s chat – it is easy to follow and will give you a run down of the topics we discussed:

http://storify.com/icouldbeorg/mentornextgen

Have a response to one of the questions asked last night? You may have missed the live chat, but we’d still love to hear your stories, thoughts, and experiences with mentoring. Leave your answers in the comment section below. And we hope you’ll be able to join us for our next chat!

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Follow along with the 2012 National Mentoring Summit

Today begins the 2nd annual National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C.! This year’s theme is Invest in the Future: Mentor a Child.

MENTOR lists a schedule of events here, which includes an update from First Lady Michelle Obama on the Corporate Mentoring Challenge she issued last year.

Follow along with us on Twitter for updates, quotes and important moments from the 2-day event. And don’t forget to use hashtag #MENTOR2012 to join in!

Mentor Spotlight: Sandy C.

Hi, my name is Sandi and I’m an excited new mentor with icouldbe.org!  While I’ve only been a mentor for one semester so far, I know there are many more semesters ahead given how much I’ve already gained from the experience.

I am working with three mentees who all have very different personalities and unique ways of approaching their assignments.  The one thing that they all have in common is a determination to be the best they can be.  While getting to know my mentees, and as they get to know me, I discovered that we have something in common. I, like they, came from at-risk neighborhoods and schools, but had a great family, friend and teacher support system to tap into and discover that I had as great a potential to succeed as anyone else.  I am hoping my experiences and “rear view mirror” perspective will be as useful to my mentees as my own mentors’ caring and personal experiences were to my success.

Having worked in a corporate enviornment now for three decades and always deferring mentoring because I never seemed able to find the time, I am thrilled that e- mentoring is not only a possibility but also a great way to connect with students.  In the short time I have been mentoring, it’s obvious that although my mentees and I have never met in person, we are getting to know each other and building relationships that are as rich as if we were sitting across a table from each other.

Happy Mentoring Month!

What better month than January, a time of fresh starts and new beginnings, to celebrate the power of mentoring? That’s right – it’s National Mentoring Month! Every January, the nation recognizes the importance of mentors and the impact that mentoring can have on today’s youth. It also serves as a call-to-action for new volunteers to join in on the mentoring movement.

All month long, we’ll be setting new goals, sharing stories from mentors and students, and attending events – so follow along with us on our website, here on our blog, and on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

There are a few special events planned for the month. Here’s a quick list:

January 11 – I am a Mentor Social Media Day

Check out this event on Facebook to find out more about how you can share your mentoring stories and celebrate Mentoring Month.

January 24-25 – National Mentoring Summit, Washington D.C.

We will be attending this event, live tweeting and posting about our experience there. Here is a link with more information on the summit. Later in the month, we’ll update you on how you can join in the conversation.

January 26 – Thank your Mentor Day

This is a great day to recognize and thank a mentor in your life. We’ll be sharing stories from students with icouldbe.org mentors, as well as posting a special thank you from our executive director. Here’s a link with ideas for how to celebrate.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to see us talk about this month?  If so let us know!

Lisa’s Mentoring Story: 3 years and counting

My name is Lisa and I have been mentoring with icouldbe.org since February 2008.  My hopes when joining icouldbe.org were to help someone.  I always wanted to go out and volunteer, but just felt I never had the time.  I learned about icouldbe.org through one of Oprah’s shows.  Oprah was suggesting ways that people could become more involved in their community, and something inside me knew this was the perfect place for me!  What could be better than helping someone in an online setting, meaning I wouldn’t have to be at a specific place at a certain time? icouldbe.org gave me the opportunity to help someone from the comfort of my own home. At the time I applied, I was working outside of home, but knew eventually my goal was to be my own boss and work from home.  icouldbe.org allows me to both work and mentor from home any time of the day!

Almost three-and-a-half years ago, I was fortunate enough to receive an email back from a mentee named Daisy.  Little did I know that I was about to be blessed by a girl whom I’d never met before, seen or knew anything about.  It was in our second email via icouldbe.org when she began to guide me on how to use the site, what to expect and how I could help her. From the beginning we had so much in common.  One of our common interests was our faith.  We are both very committed to our faith and from there it was a friendship that I knew would last a lifetime. That year I mentored her and answered her questions about college, life outside the walls of high school and finding a career that would suit her and make her happy.  I gave her advice that I wished I’d had from someone I could trust to avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.

Even though I was correcting her icouldbe.org assignments, we would still email throughout that first year, talking about life and friends. Our friendship blossomed quickly and our trust grew such that she wasn’t just getting help with her schoolwork, but was opening up and letting me into her heart, and what her hurts and hopes were.  We still continued to email throughout the summer and throughout her last year in high school.

That next year we both experienced personal tragedies and were able to offer each other support. It was wonderful to know that we were always there for each other. Daisy and I had experienced and shared so much of ourselves that it was second nature, even after she graduated. We continued to stay in touch even though she was not part of the icouldbe.org program anymore.

My mentoring relationship started with Daisy almost three-and-a-half years ago and I have been blessed with the opportunity to “virtually” mentor Daisy. Daisy and I have emailed each other on icouldbe.org about how great it would be to meet after she turns 18.  Now that she is, icouldbe.org is helping us to make contact and my hope is that we will meet someday soon!  icouldbe.org has far exceeded my expectations; not only was I able to help someone, but in return I received a lifelong friend. Thank you icouldbe.org!!!

icouldbe.org to be featured in a Groupon fundraising campaign!

We are excited to announce that Groupon, the popular daily deals and discounts site, has selected icouldbe.org for a fundraising campaign! The campaign will run from Tuesday, November 1st to Thursday, November 3rd.

Groupon’s philanthropic arm G-Team is a community outreach initiative within Groupon that brings communities together to do good, have fun, and make an impact. G-Team has been working in New York City to help mission-driven organizations like ours raise money and raise awareness, channeling the collective buying power of Groupon followers and our local supporters.

Our campaign will run in New York City beginning Tuesday, November 1st through Thursday. November 3rd. Our goal is to raise $650 to complete our fundraising goal in New York and bring our mentoring program to a New York City high school classroom in need. Any additional funds raised will go towards an additional classroom.

Stay tuned next week for another post on our blog (and look for posts on Facebook and Twitter, too) with more information and a link to the live fundraising campaign. We hope that you and others choose to CLICK and donate $10 or more to help bring an online mentoring program to a New York City high school classroom in need.

Thank you to all who are able to donate or share this offer with your network of friends and family!

Jerry Steward, Teacher, Mentor, and icouldbe.org’s Senior Program Manager, West Coast

Jerry Steward is a mentor to five students; but that’s really only the beginning of her work with icouldbe.org.

Jerry lives in Sacramento, California, where she taught high school students for thirteen years after a long career in the corporate world.  After retiring from teaching, Jerry joined the staff at icouldbe.org as the Senior Program Manager, West Coast.  She is responsible for all of our programs with the California Partnership Academies that stretch across the entire state.  Over 1,000 students, and their teachers and mentors are guided and managed by Jerry and her experiences as a teacher and mentor provide her with an exceptional background to serve all of her constituents well.

In addition to teaching classes on the topics of business management, international business, computer repair and entrepreneurship, Jerry used the icouldbe.org program in her classroom for years. She worked directly with students who were mentees in the icouldbe.org program, and found that the curriculum fit right in with her business and technology-focused classes.

Jerry has seen students interact with the icouldbe.org program from all different vantage points, and she’s been able to observe firsthand why it really works for students:

  • Students can progress at their own pace. “Many students completed their curriculum work at home, even posting on message boards in the evenings. They were able to work at their own pace, and that’s how I could tell they really enjoyed it.”
  • California Partnership Academies (CPAs) in low socio-economic areas sometimes see as many as 50% at-risk students. Many times, these students are in need of positive, productive role models in their life – mentors in the icouldbe.org program can fill this role.
  • The interaction students have with their mentors teaches them effective ways to communicate. Within the curriculum, filters don’t allow for inappropriate language, and students are able to work on spelling, grammar and a more professional level of communication.
  • Once students work with one mentor, Jerry found that “they don’t want to switch to a different mentor. Students will participate in the icouldbe program for three years (sophomore to senior year), and they want that same mentor each time. They form a real relationship with them.”

Today, Jerry is working on recruiting new mentors, and introducing schools to the icouldbe.org program and the benefits it can bring to their students. This year, she’s already helping six to eight new classrooms sign up for the program in California – totaling an additional 275 students on top of the 1,000 students already being served in California!

Do you have any questions about the program for Jerry?  She’d be happy to respond!