Tag Archives: non-profit

Mentor Spotlight: Chasity L.

“Working with students at icouldbe.org is truly a blessing! I feel that the work I do with them is more than just an assignment, it is a way to pass on information that could impact the rest of their life. More importantly, every email and every interaction that I have with each of my wonderful mentees is an opportunity to let them know there is someone out there who cares about them, who cares about their future, their well-being, and what is going on in their everyday life.

Every young person is impressionable and we have the ability to be a good example for them during this challenging part of growing up. It is so rewarding to have my mentees thank me for the time I give and tell me how important I am to them. Giving our time to others is one of the most special ways we can let them know how much we care.

Another reason I love being a mentor on icouldbe.org is because they make it possible for mentors to reach students all across America through their unique and brilliant use of technology!

“For while they are the youth of today, they shall be the leaders of tomorrow” -John F. Kennedy “

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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!

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!

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.

Mashable Awards

The 4th annual Mashable Awards are well underway, and this year we’re trying to get in on the fun!  icouldbe.org is nominating ourselves for “Must Follow Non-Profit” – hey there is no shame in tooting your own horn, right?  Here are just three reasons why we think we deserve a nomination:

  • icouldbe.org brings ONLINE mentoring to at risk teenagers across the United States
  • icouldbe.org surrounds each student with a team of five caring adults to help them do well and persist in high school, explore careers, prepare for college and learn to manage finances.
  • We are in the process of launching a nationwide social campaign to raise awareness and funds so an icouldbe classroom can be found in all 50 states

Mashable is an online publication that reports news in social and digital media, technology and web culture.  They currently have over 30 million page views per month. Previously, the awards were called The Open Web Awards. For more details on the awards, click here.

To nominate icouldbe, click here.  You have to act quick, as submissions will be accepted only until November 29, 2010.   You can nominate in each category once per day.

Thanks for your consideration.

icouldbe a president

Today’s holiday honors past presidents who have led our country, as well as the February birthdays of America’s Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

In addition to looking at the leaders of our past, President’s Day is a time to look towards the future. Students today have their entire lives ahead of them, and will be sure to change their minds many times about their dreams and goals – whether they want to be the President of the United States, the president of their own business, a chef, an artist, a community leader, a teacher or whatever it may be that lights them up inside.

Mentoring a student can provide guidance and direction, and introduce opportunities that those students might not otherwise become aware of. At icouldbe.org, students can choose their own mentors – mentors who have professions in the career that they are interested in pursuing. This caring support is invaluable to a young person as they explore their potential career passions.

All students deserve and need us to guide them through their high school years.  If we don’t and we allow even one student to fail, who will that student be?  They might very well be the next poet laureate, inventor, entrepreneur, or maybe the doctor who will cure cancer.  On this President’s Day let’s celebrate the potential for all of our young people.  Mentoring through icouldbe.org only requires a commitment of one hour per week – but the effects of that commitment are life lasting. This President’s Day, celebrate by becoming a mentor, or telling your local school about the program. Imagine saying that you mentored a president!

“I didn’t want to go to college, my grades were good, but no one from my family had been – my mentor helped me apply and get into a college, and I got a scholarship…I would never be here if it wasn’t for him.”- From a participating icouldbe student