Giving Compass' Take:

• iMentor is a program that provides online mentoring options for high school students, both virtual and in-person, through graduation. 

• Are there long-term mentorship programs for students in your community? 

• Read more about the online tutoring program, iMentor.

Entering high school can be a challenging experience for many students, but Manny A., a rising junior at Edward M. Kennedy Academy (EMK) for Health Careers in Boston, has never had to navigate the transition alone.

Since he entered the school two years ago, he’s been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay’s (BBBSMB) Mentor 2.0 class, which focuses on college and career readiness. And not long after starting 9th grade, he was matched with mentor Bhanu Jain, who provides support — both virtually and in person.

Using the online iMentor model, Jain provides feedback through the Canvas platform when Manny completes classroom lessons, chats with him using a conversation app and meets with him once a month at school where they often play games and discuss Manny’s goals. Jain thinks he and Manny are the “chattiest” pair in the group.

With BBBSMB expanding its Mentor 2.0 program for high school students to a third school this fall — the Community Academy of Science and Health in Dorchester — the organization needs to find 300 college-educated volunteers like Jain to commit to helping low-income and first-generation students headed to college throughout their four years of high school.

The ability to provide a lot of that support virtually is an important recruitment tool.

Mentor 2.0 program coordinators also work in the schools to teach the classes and collaborate with counselors and other educators to align their lessons with the school’s curriculum. They provide “match support” to address any concerns that might arise between mentors and mentees and participate in grade-level meetings when topics such as social-emotional learning are discussed.

While iMentor was originally structured as a one-year mentoring program, the demand to extend it for at least three years came from both mentors and students and allowed the organization to focus more on helping students complete high school and make a successful transition into college.

Read the full article about mentoring program by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive.