For a mentoring program to work, mentors need to meet the students where they are — and that might be online.
That’s the idea behind the Knight Foundation-backed What It Takes/Urban Youth Racing School‘s e-mentoring program, which connected nearly 200 African American and Latino boys with successful black and Latino men and used LinkedIn as a free platform for the pairs to communicate, said program director Michelle Martin.
Urban Youth Racing School launched a guide to what it learned while developing and running the program. Find it here.
The program was effective, Martin said earlier this month at the Grassroots Game Conference, because it allowed flexibility for the mentors and the students. Mentors spent at least one hour a week communicating with their mentees by responding to postings on LinkedIn. The pairs also met in person from time to time.
Not one of the boys had ever heard of LinkedIn, Martin said. In that way, the e-mentoring program also served as a form of digital literacy training. Mentor helped the boys understand their online presence, Martin said, like what kinds of things are appropriate to share on social media and how posts on social media can follow you for life.-30-
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