Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mission statement: “ is an online career development/educational planning and mentoring program matching at-risk middle and high school students with volunteer adult mentors. By connecting students online with committed professionals from a broad range of career fields, expands young peoples’ vision of their own potential, encourages them to set educational and career goals, and helps identify pathways to achieving goals.”


My donation: Ad hoc mentor (free!)

Each year, 1.2 million young people drop out of school. This number didn’t mean very much to me until it was put in the following context: that is 30% of all students in the U.S. (THIRTY PERCENT! Are you kidding me?!) The students serves are from the demographic communities that are statistically most likely to drop out of school.

I also learned that an alarmingly low 68% of 9th grade students will graduate from high school, and only 18% will go on to receive an undergraduate degree. The numbers didn't hit me until I saw this graph:

(Apologies for the blurry image)

See that teeny tiny small bar on the right? Mind you, this is not 18% of underprivileged 9th graders, this is 18% of ALL 9th grade students in America. (Ummm, seriously people? This is America! I really had no idea.)

In all fairness, I feel like I should warn you – this one has a little meat to it. In order to become an online mentor in the program, you’re required to submit to a background check, which can take up to 2 weeks. Filling out the background check questionnaire takes about 5 minutes.

The time commitment for a year-long mentor is about an hour a week. Luckily, there is the “ad hoc mentor” option, which basically allows you to log in and answer mentee’s questions that are posted to the discussion boards whenever you have a few spare moments.

I spent 10 minutes this morning answering questions about financial aid for college, money management and career decisions. Super easy, and surprisingly rewarding!

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