Mentoring Youth in Transition
Emerging & Promising Practices
Connecting to Success, a program of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition at the University of Minnesota, provides mentoring through technology to improve student academic achievement and career development. Students are matched with mentors in one or more local businesses and communicate via e-mail for the course of the academic year. The aims of Connecting to Success include:
- promoting a vision of greatly expanded opportunities for people with disabilities
- linking e-mentoring with transition
- creating opportunities for career learning, academic learning, and improved self-esteem, and
- fostering high expectations for at-risk students and students with disabilities
By enhancing students awareness of the world of work, their perceptions of their own capabilities, and their ability to communicate effectively, Connecting to Success seeks to increase the likelihood that at-risk students and students with disabilities will pursue postsecondary education. It also seeks to change perceptions so that students, educators, employers, and citizens will not only envision youth with disabilities transitioning to productive lives, they will expect it.
Disability Mentoring Day
The American Association of People with Disabilities' (AAPD) Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) program connects nationally nearly 20,000 students and jobseekers with all types of disabilities to thousands of employers each year and currently takes place in more than 300 locations in every U.S. state and territory. DMD is held on the third Wednesday of October each year. DMD promotes career development for students and jobseekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring leading to internship and employment opportunities.
Project DO-IT is a program at the University of Washington funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal of DO-IT is to recruit and retain students with disabilities into science, engineering, and mathematics academic and career programs.
A key component of DO-IT is electronic mentoring. DO-IT participants (high school students with disabilities) are matched with mentors (college students, faculty, practicing engineers and scientists, most with disabilities themselves) through electronic communications and joint projects using the Internet. DO-IT is based on the concept that mentors can help students with disabilities achieve greater success in science and math by providing direction and encouragement, promoting achievement, and helping students to develop self-advocacy and leadership skills.