Tag Archives: charity

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!!!


Make this Sunday a FUNDay with Dad!

Father’s day is upon us and it seems like every year we get our dads a card they may misplace or a gift they’ll never use. This year, why not make it a Father’s Day he’ll never forget (and neither will you)!

Why not put together a fun and simple fundraising event with Dad?

Raising money for charity or putting together an event can seem like daunting tasks but really, they can be easy – especially when a cause inspires you (or Dad!).

We’ve put together a list of fundraising activities you can do with your dad this Father’s Day to raise money for your favorite cause (or at any time during the year):

  • Car Wash – Ask dad for help on this one. Post up signs around the neighborhood and raise money for Dad’s favorite charity.
  • Bottle Drive – Get dad out of the house and get together for a bottle drive. Make sure to let your community know ahead of time that you and your dad will be going around to collect bottles to donate to a good cause.
  • Bike Race – Get the entire family involved for this one! Have everyone sponsor himself or herself and the winner can choose the charity that will receive the winnings!
  • Dog Wash – Anyone who owns a dog will love this one. Get together with your Dad and wash your neighbors dogs for a small donation to your non-profit.
  • Garage Sale – Finish up some of that Spring Cleaning (you forgot to do). Use the items you think would be “sellers,” break out the lawn chairs and enjoy a nice day outside with dad all while raising money for a good cause
  • Yard Work – Grab Dad and go around the neighborhood to see if anyone would like to make a small donation in exchange for your services in cleaning up their yard. Another option is to do yard work for your Dad, and see if he’ll make a small donation in exchange for your time and effort.

Now you need to find a cause that inspires you. If you can’t think of one, we’d love to suggest supporting a local mentoring program for your community. As you know, we launched the 50 State Campaign earlier this year to bring awareness to the significant impact mentoring has to hinder the nearly 30% of students that drop out of high school each year nationwide – and to find a way for every state to bring a mentoring program to its’ communities.

We could use your help to bring online mentoring to students in each state – what better way to do that than to raise money with Dad this Father’s Day?

If you’re looking for another way to give back (or if Dad is), check out what it’s like to be an online mentor at icouldbe.org. It’s flexible and it only takes about an hour of your time each week.

Steven Petersen Champions NY state in our 50 State Campaign

We’re excited to announce that a commitment from Steven Petersen to champion New York State’s campaign brings us halfway to our goal for the state’s new mentoring program!

Steve is Chair of the Board for icouldbe.org, and joined our board of directors in 2006. Steve says he “got lucky” in his academic career by having a good support network consisting of great parents and teachers. He ultimately pursued a career in finance, and is now a principal and Global Controller of TPG-Axon Capital Management, a global investment firm headquartered in New York.

Steve’s interest in mentoring came from his understanding that there is a huge differential between opportunities afforded some kids versus others due to various factors and says “icouldbe.org attacks that inequity by giving children of meager means in terms of both income as well as connections, the tools to improve their life”.  He says “some of the most important gifts a mentor can give a mentee are the knowledge of what is available to them, the confidence that they can indeed succeed and the guts to not be afraid to fail”.

Knowing that mentoring is one solution for kids to gain confidence, do better in school, and be educated on the opportunities available to them, Steve became involved in icouldbe.org, and became a mentor himself. He is now championing to bring the icouldbe.org program to a new school in New York State, and recently matched campaign donations by contributing $4,000 – half of what is needed to implement a program.

As of today, New York has raised $4,487 – 56% of the way towards their goal to bring a new mentoring program to a local school.  If you’re from New York, can you help us spread the word or make a donation?

You can also vote for your school to be the recipient of the program!

(Oh, and don’t forget – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents are racing to see who will get a program first. Donate, and you’ll be entered to win a fantastic night’s stay at a premier resort and spa in beautiful Vermont! <link to info>)

icouldbe.org would like to thank Steve for his generous contribution, and his hard work on the board of icouldbe.org, and of course as a mentor!

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.

The race is on for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey

Help your state be first – and be entered for an amazing giveaway!

Our 50 State Campaign is well underway, and a few states are more than halfway to reaching their goals!  Which state will be first to bring a brand new online mentoring program to a local public school?

The race appears to be on between New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. We can’t help but wonder which state will be first to raise the needed funds! So, we thought we’d add a little incentive to make things fun.

Residents in the tri-state area can help your state be the first in the campaign to get a program. Here’s what you can do today:

1. Head to our campaign site and choose NY, NJ or CT on the map.

2. Make a donation of $5 or more by June 30th.

3. You’ll automatically be entered to win a free night at The Essex – Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa. Perfect for a summer getaway. We will announce the winner on July 1st.

And, don’t forget: when you make a donation, you can also vote for the school that YOU think needs a mentoring program the most. The icouldbe.org online mentoring program has been proven to lower dropout rates, provide needed support to each individual student served and improve a student’s confidence and academic performance.

So – will your state be the first to succeed? It could be, with your help!

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.

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.

Happy Halloween!

Many kids take collection boxes out with them trick-or-treating, and ask for spare change to support various causes. It’s a great way to let your community know about your favorite cause, and earn some donations in the process.

We’re in the process of getting the word out about our new campaign across all 50 states – and we’d love your help. We’re aiming to raise enough money ($8,000 per state) to implement our e-mentoring program into a school in every state. At our campaign site here, you can donate towards your state and nominate a school you think deserves a mentoring program.

Will you spread the word to your community, and let them know about our campaign? Your community can come together to vote for schools near you – and if everyone could give some spare change, we’ll be on our way to bringing mentoring to students in need of help with career exploration, college preparation and support in school.

Visit our campaign site to find out more – and have a safe and Happy Halloween!