Tag Archives: schools

And the Teacher of the Year is…

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bryan Voeltner for winning the 2012 icouldbe Teacher of the Year Award.  We honor Mr. Voeltner, a founding teacher of the Academy of Information and Technology at Hoover High School in San Diego, CA for his extraordinary commitment to his students.  As an 18 year veteran teacher in Hoover’s Technology Support and Global Information Systems programs, Bryan has delivered icouldbe’s program for six years, helping us serve nearly 600 students with our career exploration and college preparation e-mentoring program.  This year there are currently 80 students enrolled who are paired with 126 mentors from a wide variety of industries.

Bryan’s hard work is evident in the achievements of his students and his support of the icouldbe.org program.  His students have consistently exceeded the goals of the curriculum due in large part to his hard work and support. Mr. Voeltner states, “As a College and Career Technical Educator, the icouldbe program has been instrumental in helping me 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.”  His students will far exceed the  goal of completing 19 curricular activities for the 2012-2013 school year as they have already completed 17 curricular activities at this mid-point in the school year.

Elizabeth Lang, the icouldbe.org Program Manager states, “I thoroughly enjoy working with Bryan because of his enthusiasm, reliability and energy in the classroom. His exceptional professionalism and extraordinary teaching skills have motivated the students to achieve their potential.”

Accolades ring across the entire organization.  Kate Schrauth, Executive Director at icouldbe adds, “Bryan is always there for us.  Just as we constantly encourage our students to be life-long learners, we know we must always be a learning organization as well.  Bryan has dedicated countless hours outside of the classroom to assist us in our quest to apply all we have learned over these many years so that we can provide the very best experience to our students.  We are honored to have Bryan on our team.”

It is our distinct honor to name Bryan Voeltner as the 2012 Teacher of the Year!


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


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!

Mentor Spotlight: Christopher P.

It is truly my privilege to work with icouldbe.org. I believe that today’s youth should be provided with as much information about opportunities as possible.  At this stage in their lives, just about anything is possible.  I try to convey that to them while providing some insight from my past experiences.  I want them to understand that life is not necessarily easy or always fun.  However, they will succeed as long as they are working towards a goal and that each accomplishment opens doors to other opportunities.  My favorite quote by Joel Osteen summarizes my approach to mentoring, “If you can see the obstacles, then you have lost sight of your goals.”

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!!!

CNN article: “The emergence of e-mentoring”

We were just featured in a great CNN article, “The emergence of e-mentoring,” and we want to share it with you! Here’s the link.

Thanks to Doug Gross for sharing the story of icouldbe.org and online mentoring. Mentors, supporters and friends – we welcome your comments! And please share with your audiences via email, Facebook and Twitter if you can!