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Mentoring as a high school and/or jr. college elective option.

Seems that the education system has monopolized the time and focus of today's youth, with increasing demands to meet graduation requirements. Elective credits are required for high school graduation and needed in some jr. college credits toward university transfers. Yet for the most part, options for electives classes are pretty limited. Especially at high schools. Mentoring for school credits or hours could be a highly effective way to really get youth to adult mentoring going strong, in all communities, everywhere.

Photo of Tuesday Aton
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Earn education credits for sharing your education with people who were educated before you.
There would need to be research conducted to see if students would be interested in becoming mentors to earn school credits.
Then it would have to be presented to the people involved in the education systems, that make decisions about things of this nature. 
Of course a plan of action would have to be professionally written regarding; the how's, when's, where's , and all details. As well as, solutions to any possible challenges that could arise. 

As for the initiating steps to launch the mentoring program for education credits, it could look something like the following:
Local hospitals, VA hospitals, and senior activites centers (among other place frequented by seniors) could present seniors with the option of being matched to a youth mentor. A quick, basic questionnaire form would begin the initiation and "match up" process on the seniors side of the mentoring service. While on campus, students that sign up for the classes, would have a list of options made available to them where they could choose the type of mentoring they would like to fulfill. And the matching process begins, following a series of instructional classes that would cover the rules and regulations for mentoring and mentoring safety and success. 


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Photo of Jennifer Wood

The IB schools have CAS hours. CAS stands for creativity, action, service. It's an existing model that works and can be replicated:

Photo of Coreen Callister

Tuesday, I love how you are thinking about twisting existing structure within schools. I'd love to see you interview some high school students to see if some of their existing volunteers efforts may already align with supporting older adults through mentorship. They may already be spending time together!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Exciting thoughts, Tuesday. Could be interesting to think about what lightweight experiment could look like & fill out that section of your idea's submission form. You can update that section by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right. If you're keen to get more info about effective prototyping, check here: Great to have you lining us for this challenge...

Photo of Nelly Peters-Campbell

Hi Tuesday, this is a great concept! One of the graduation requirements in my university(CalState Monterey Bay) is Service Learning, something very similar to your idea and Paul Reader's Mentorship Networks proposal. The Service Learning course combines classroom instruction with community service. Local community/non-profit organizations who need volunteers partner up with the University and the students chose an organization they want to work with from the list of options provided by the instructor.

What I like about your concept, is that you propose mentoring for credits to be an elective option, meaning that students who decide to do it, would more likely do it consciously and wouldn't lack motivation to do something they don't really care about. I also like the instructional classes part. I would probably make sense for these classes to also cover social, psychological, and biological aspects of aging, as well as best processes and techniques of meeting the needs of older adults.

Photo of Paul Reader

Hi Nelly,
Great to hear about your university's initiative.
Do the activities/options include mentoring by the students, as opposed to the more common service based activities?

Like you I see the instructional aspects to be advantageous and the kit being developed in Ashwin's Sunday Brunch concept ( ) would be a great collaborative link to this one.

As you say too, there are synergies between this and my Mentorship Networks. Concepts such as this mentoring elective would give meaning to the value in formalising institutional/organisational networks. I'm going to acknowledge this by linking the two concepts.

Photo of Paul Reader

Hi Tuesday welcome to OpenIDEO.
This is a brilliant and eminently practical idea.
As you say interest of students in the option would be a key requirement, as would the need for the type of knowledge they would pass on to the older generation. I imagine this would be particularly of interest to students looking to play an educational role in society but would of course be enormously beneficial to any student taking up the option.