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Be A Mentor, Inc. was founded as "Students in Business" in September 1992 by Executive Director Robert Goetsch and several colleagues. Its original purpose was for business professionals to improve the caliber of potential workers for their own businesses by supporting and guiding academically challenged students in the creation and management of a small business. While many of the students began to mature and improve in the program, those that thrived were the ones who were developing personal one-to-one relationships with the adult advisors. Consequently, the organization began to transform its energies to creating, facilitating and supporting one-to-one youth-adult relationships.
In 1994, the organization, under the "Be A Mentor Project," launched its first direct mentoring program by connecting approximately 40 Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) youth (ages 16-21) with successful adults. Over the next several years, the renamed Be A Mentor, Inc. began to expand its scope, creating and managing mentoring projects with cities, counties, schools, school districts and other community benefit organizations throughout the East Bay of San Francisco. These programs include mentoring to reduce gang violence, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, teen parenting prevention, and academic improvement, as well as mentoring programs for foster youth, children with parents in prison and transitional youth.
In 1997, Be A Mentor collaborated with computer giant Intel to create and launch a corporate employee-focused Email mentoring program. In this program, company employees connect with students via Email to provide technical, academic and professional support to school students working on specific classroom projects. While Intel continues to expand this program throughout the world, Be A Mentor is developing new Email mentoring projects with local businesses that are eager to invest in the future.
At the same time, Be A Mentor began to utilize its computer industry contacts and expertise to improve the process of managing mentoring programs and developed the Mentoring Management System (MMS), an internet-based, full-service tool for mentoring programs to process and manage volunteer applications, make and monitor matches and retain data on the match. Beginning in 2005, Be A Mentor began to contract this system with other organizations for their mentoring programs. In 2009, MMS was adapted into a full-use volunteer screening and management tool know as Volunteer Management System (VMS) for schools, school districts and other organizations serving youth.
In 2010, Be A Mentor formed the East Bay Mentoring Partnership (EBMP) that included Northern California mentoring agencies in Richmond, Oakland, and Berkeley. EBMP applied for and was one of only ten (10) collaboratives nation-wide to be awarded a Federal grant in the amount of $1.2 million to serve 300 high needs youth with caring adult mentors. Be A Mentor served as the project coordinator for the four partner agencies working together to provide the youth with mentors. Be A Mentor's proprietary VMS was the core central management system to serve as a central clearinghouse for propective mentors, scheduler of mentor training, and monitoring and tracking youth outcomes.
Be A Mentor continues to conduct mentoring projects, develop community relationships with other organizations to connect youth with positive adult role models, promote educational improvement through Mentoring and work to improve the lives, hopes and ambitions of struggling young people wherever they may be.
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Words of Wisdom
~ Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. ~