VIRTUAL VOLUNTEERS
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Want to help kids, but don’t have much “in-person” time to offer? Try HIGH-TECH MENTORING. About 70 mentoring programs operate online, according to Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership. They vary from internal programs like IBM’s Mentor Place, which matches employees with projects at elementary through high schools, to individuals helping the nonprofit ICouldBe (www.icouldbe.org) assist teens with career planning.

Start at Mentor’s Web site (www.mentoring.org) to find your own fit. “E-mentoring is really just a very modern take on an ancient method of helping young people succeed,” says Gail Manza, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Mentor.

While still early in its development, initial studies show e-mentoring can effectively build long-lasting and close relationships, the two hallmarks of successful mentoring. Manza says her group will keep studying e-mentoring, but believes it has great potential. “With the Internet, the world has shifted,” she says. “I can’t imagine e-mentoring won’t find a place.”