Burt’s Bees and Achievement Academy of Durham kick off pilot mentoring program

November 10, 2017

A team of women professionals from Burt’s Bees and female students from Achievement Academy of Durham kicked off a pilot mentoring program Nov. 9 that participants hope will offer personal and professional growth on both sides of the mentor relationship.

Mentor Lilian Kerongo, a senior scientist at Burt Bee’s, said she immigrated to the United States at the age of 19.

“Everything was new – the culture, the language – and a lot of people held my hand along the way,” she said. “I want to give back to the community and to be able to hold somebody’s hand.”

Kelly Offerman, another senior scientist, said she had many mentors while interning during college. “For me, it’s a pay it forward thing because that’s what was given to me. I’d like to give that to somebody else.”

Quality specialist Katina Allen said, “I’d like to give what I didn’t receive growing up.”

Research shows the consistent presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life can significantly improve their chances of staying in school, attending and graduating from college, making healthy decisions and realizing their aspirations, said Jacob Dolan, Made in Durham’s employer engagement strategist.

Mentors can play that vital role. For that reason, partners in Made in Durham’s Durham Futures initiative are exploring the impact mentorships can make in their dropout recovery efforts. Achievement Academy is the first school to test the strategy.

More than six months in the making, the pilot program is based on best practices proven by the National Mentoring Resource Center in recruitment, screening, training, matching and initiating, monitoring and support, and closure. The mentor relationships being kicked off this month will last one year.

Mentors and mentees spent time during their first meeting sharing insights into themselves that Dolan and Achievement Academy Director Nancy Cox will use to match them.

Next steps will be to share the new matches with mentors and mentees and help them launch their first meetings. Dolan plans some group outings for the cohort. The program will continue to be supported by Made in Durham as it is reviewed for impact and scalability. The mentors will also have support from two staff members at Achievement Academy to keep them relationships on track and supportive.

Achievement Academy is one of four academic recovery partners for Made in Durham, a community partnership of educators, businesses, government, nonprofits and young people focused on creating an education-to-career system that ensures all Durham youth graduate from high school, earn a post-secondary credential and enter a career by age 25.

For more information about the mentoring program, contact Dolan at jdolan@madeindurham.org or (919) 215-5844.

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