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					       Training TOOL-KIT

     Online Mentoring Program Works
         ow can students prepare

                                                                            lum with projects and activities
         to enter an increasingly                                           to guide communication and
         competitive workforce?         “The E-Mentoring pro-               encourage skill assessment, goal
 How can businesspersons share
 their experience with youths
                                        gram is a modification              setting, tolerance for differences,
                                                                            and the use of community
 without compromising their busy        of traditional mentor-              resources.
 schedules? How can youths who                                                      One particular activity
 are at risk of dropping out of         ing, utilizing computer             requires the student and E-
 high school be motivated to
 remain in school? One answer is
                                        technology to connect               Mentor to share some personal
                                                                            characteristics and work-related
 E-Mentoring, a high-tech collab-       adult role models to                values and examine how these
 oration between email and men-                                             might fit into a particular work
 toring.                                at-risk youth.”                     environment. Upon completing
    Peckham, Inc., developed the                                            the exercise, one student said,
 E-Mentoring program in partnership with                  “[My E-Mentor] was helping me think of things
 Michigan Rehabilitative Services and the Ingham          to share about myself, and we couldn’t stop
 Intermediate School District, as a component of          laughing! It was really a hard activity because it
 the LINKS program.                                       made me do a lot of thinking. But I really had a
    Through the LINKS program, each student               lot of fun doing it!”
 selected undertakes a vocational assessment, cre-           E-Mentors have offered advice, consolation,
 ates an action plan, performs career research on         and encouragement as the students post messages
 his or her chosen goal, and participates in job          dealing not only with vocational interests, but
 shadowing experiences that correspond to his or          also related personal issues such as family
 her career interests. E-Mentoring continues the          relationships, dating, and violence in school.
 link between school and career by partnering stu-           Serving the high schools in Ingham County,
 dents with an E-Mentor, someone who enjoys               E-Mentoring provides services to a diverse group
 teaching, coaching, and being a role model and is        of participating students. E-Mentoring students
 a professional in his or her career field of interest.   come from rural and urban areas, and large and
    The E-Mentoring program is a modification of          small schools and possess career interests that
 traditional mentoring, utilizing computer technol-       span the spectrum from technology to medical
 ogy to connect adult role models to at-risk youth.       to construction.
 Through E-Mentoring, the student and the mentor             E-Mentors are all community businesspersons
 enter an online correspondence in which the stu-         and are recruited through local service clubs,
 dent posts messages based on different vocation-         business organizations, and word of mouth.
 ally related projects, and the mentor responds           E-Mentors include government agency directors,
 with advice and resources. E-Mentors and                 financial officers, physicians, and skilled trade
 students communicate via a secure Web portal             professionals from local construction and manu-
 developed by Peckham that ensures anonymity              facturing companies. The diverse range of
 and security. Peckham’s E-Mentor specialist mon-         E-Mentors reflects the variety of interest areas of
 itors the website to ensure the appropriateness of       the participating students.
 the postings and to provide help and support for
 students and mentors.                                    Program is Working
                                                             Since the inception of the program, almost 50
 Projects and Activities                                  students have shared educational and professional
    To supplement the personal connections and            goals, questions, and interests with a caring adult.
 information between mentors and students,                Program results show that students who complete
 Peckham also created a research-based curricu-           the program stay on track to graduate. Peckham’s

August 2010                                                                             JTPR Training Tool-Kit 1
 E-Mentor specialist continually reviews participa-                      Learning how to deal with the pressure of
 tion, and new activities are added based on                          being different and not letting others make him
 student and E-Mentor feedback. The LINKS                             feel uncomfortable has prepared David for some
 program currently has a participation rate of                        of the issues that will come up as he seeks to
 93%, and several students are exceeding program                      create his ideal salon.
 participation requirements.                                             David describes his dream place of business:
    Most important, 78% of the students who have                      “I do have a desire to own my own salon, but it
 completed the program are either still in school or                  wouldn’t just be a salon,” he said. “It would be
 have graduated from high school six months after                     like a miniature mall almost. It would contain
 program completion. This is a huge accomplish-                       food, clothes, shoes, jewelry, music, and a dance
 ment for students previously identified as at risk                   floor. Then in the back would be the ‘paradise’
 for dropping out of school.                                          part of it, the salon. I don’t want it to be just
                                                                      an ordinary salon. I want it to be somewhere
 Success Story                                                        young teens can come and hang out and
    Today’s high school students are faced with a                     express themselves.”
 lot of choices and have shown great promise
                                                                      Program Benefits
 when offered guidance. One of the graduating
                                                                         The benefit of E-Mentoring is clear in David’s
 seniors in the E-Mentoring program is a young                        story, as well as the individual stories of all
 man named David (name changed for privacy).                          students who participated in the program. One of
 David expressed an interest in fashion and hair                      the graduating seniors is enrolled in college and
 design and was matched with a mentor who spe-                        has had extensive dialogue with his E-Mentor
 cialized in retail sales and business management.                    concerning freshmen issues, including room-
    David and his mentor established a great rela-                    mates, study habits, and making new friends.
 tionship on the website, which led to the sharing                    Another senior is joining the workforce and plans
 of valuable information concerning David’s                           to work and go to school at the same time. Her
 future plans and what he could expect in his areas                   E-Mentor has provided advice on time manage-
 of interest.                                                         ment and goal setting.
    Not only was David able to get great informa-
 tion about the field of personal care, but he also                   Summary
 was able to share with his E-Mentor some of the                          The strength of any community can be mea-
 challenges he has faced by being an openly gay                       sured in how well it prepares its young people to
 student in high school.                                              make the transition from student to worker.
    Due to some of the social pressure that he had                    Peckham’s E-Mentoring program has proven that
 faced, David contemplated quitting school. With                      it can be a successful tool in the development of
 the encouragement of his E-Mentor and other car-                     our future workforce. For more information about
 ing adults in his life, David decided to stay in                     the E-Mentoring Program, contact Ann Paruch at
 school — and later graduated from high school.             

 Source: Reprinted with permission of Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), “Promising Practices”
 series. For more information, visit

  Mentoring Works, but it’s Not a Cure-all!
         on-parent adults who mentor youths often                     Mentors who are “results-oriented” and have

 N       serve as crucial educators and support fig-
         ures, promoting learning and competence,
 enhancing self-esteem, and helping youth realize
                                                                      behavioral goals for youth, are less successful
                                                                      than “process-oriented” mentors who want to
                                                                      build trust and become a friend and confidant of
 their full potential. The following are several                      a youth.
 strategies associated with successful mentoring:                         The most successful mentor-youth relation-
                                                                      ships exist for at least a year — with meetings
     Mentors and youth should be matched on                          that last at least an hour each week. The mentor
 the basis of shared interests, and youth, mentor,                    should always assume that he or she will initiate
 and family preference. There is no perfect method                    contact, because the youth is not likely to initiate
 to matching a mentor and youth, but the age, gen-                    contact on his/her own.
 der, and education of the volunteer is not as
 important as his/her outlook on mentoring.                           Source: University of Illinois-Chicago.

2 JTPR Training Tool-Kit                                                                                                August 2010

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