Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington Launches MentorU

Big Brothers Big Sisters Group of Mentees
MentorU blends weekly online communication with monthly in-person activities to build powerful, lasting relationships between mentors and mentees. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington

This month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington (BBBS) proudly kicks off their highly anticipated program, MentorU at Tumwater High School. “MentorU is designed to help high school students develop personal, academic and career specific skills,” explains BBBS Program Manager, Susan Kirn. “The program accomplishes this by blending technology and structured curriculum to focus in on the key areas of workforce development, career exploration and post-secondary education and career planning.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Boy Mentee
MentorU pairs mentors with mentees based on similar career and/or personal interests. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound first launched the MentorU program at West Seattle High School. The idea grew from a need to address less than ideal graduation rates and an entry level workforce unprepared to fully meet the demands of life beyond high school.

“Our schools are working harder than ever to meet the individual needs of our students,” stresses Susan. “MentorU is just one of the ways BBBS aims to support our students, their teachers, their families and our greater community. It allows us to help our youth not only make it to graduation, but to leave high school with a plan, allowing them to be vital contributors to our community in the years to come.”

MentorU is all about arming our students with the tools for bright futures full of possibility. Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the program is its recognition of the unmatched power of a personal connection, like those developed through a mentor/mentee relationship.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Girl Mentee
MentorU helps struggling students look beyond high school, setting goals to not only graduate but to also find success academically and/or professionally in the years to come. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington

“Mentors are matched to students through shared career goals and/or personal interests,” says Susan. “Each mentor serves as a guide and role model to students facing academic and personal challenges and is given the opportunity to help their mentee develop skills and confidence so that they will graduate and be ready for post high school success. Mentors and mentees communicate weekly using a secure online platform and meet once a month during the school year at Tumwater High School for conversation, food and activities.”

MentorU is actively seeking volunteers for the current school year. Because of its unique blend of online and in-person interaction, it is a perfect opportunity for those of us who want to help make a difference in a youth’s life but find ourselves continually saying “I’m too busy.” Now is the time to get involved and make a difference that can last a lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about being a mentor in this exciting, new program, contact Susan Kirn at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington at 360.943.0409 or email Susan@swwabigs.org.

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