Member Advocacy Executive Finds Fulfillment Mentoring Teens

A year ago a high school student from Klamath Falls, Ore., gave no thought to attending college. She was from a financially challenged single-parent household and just assumed it wasn’t possible.

Now the sophomore is planning to pursue a counseling degree. Her mind was changed because of the mentoring she is receiving from a credit union professional.

“It’s been cool to see her blossom,” said Janet Buckalew of the young student she’s been mentoring through a national organization called icouldbe.org.

Buckalew, vice president of member advocacy for Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union, learned of the mentoring opportunity through her contacts at Citizens for Safe Schools, a Klamath County program connecting adult mentors with at-risk fourth-through-eighth-graders. Founded in 2000, icouldbe.org is a multi-state operation targeting underserved middle and high school students. Its purpose is to combat the loss of career and educational guidance programs in schools, to address the drop-out crisis and to re-imagine delivery of mentoring programs by involving highly skilled and successful adults.

After going through a background check, Buckalew received training and resources from the organization. She was then paired with a high school mentee in Klamath Falls for 16 weeks of face-to-face mentoring. She is now preparing for 16 weeks of online mentoring for her student.

Buckalew is now also registered to answer email questions from icouldbe.org’s students in many other states, and she reports doing so a few times a week. Most of the questions are about financial literacy, and finding grants and scholarships for college.

Buckalew hopes other credit union professionals will sign up for training. She reports spending as little as an hour a week and knows she’s already made a difference with her mentee.

“To see her have hope for her future and break the cycle of poverty is exciting,” Buckalew said.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, Article Post.