One in three young people do not have a mentor in their lives. However, those students with mentors are more likely to attend college and participate in extracurricular activities. Both facts come from a recent MENTOR report, funded by AT&T Aspire.

By working with organizations like MENTOR, the company is more than half way to its goal of providing 1 million hours of mentoring by 2016.

AT&T created Aspire Mentoring Academy to increase the number of students who have this support. Employees have the opportunity to use their skills to bridge the mentoring “gap” and help students who need it most.

Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, AT&T employees work with students across the country, helping them connect classroom learning to their futures. By working with organizations like MENTOR, the company is more than half way to its goal of providing 1 million hours of mentoring by 2016.

While it’s exciting to talk about goals and big milestones, it’s just as encouraging to hear the personal stories of mentors and mentees who have been changed for the better. Below are two such examples from Aspire Mentoring Academy.

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Anna and Arianna

Arianna is an ambitious 8th grader from the San Francisco area. However, she really struggled with Algebra. Trying to complete her math homework was frustrating and often left her feeling defeated.

Little did she know that Anna, an AT&T employee in San Francisco, would help change that forever. Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, Arianna was paired up with Anna. The two met weekly to work on math problems and study skills. In addition to spending time on homework, they built a strong personal bond. Hitting it off from day one, each week Arianna looked forward to her meetings with Anna.

As the year progressed, Arianna continued to improve in math and, perhaps more importantly, her perspective on the future. At the end of the school year when asked about her attitude about math, Arianna said: “I think I am good at math now…my mentor was very nice and she listened to what I had to say and related to me well. She is funny and I love her.”

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Rob and Antwan

Rob has been meeting with Antwan, an 11th grader in Dallas, for three years. Rob, an AT&T employee, was connected through the Aspire Mentoring Academy by Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor2.0 to Antwan. At the beginning of their relationship, Antwan recalls that he was quiet and lacked confidence. Because of Rob’s encouragement and guidance, Antwan is now more comfortable speaking in front of others. “He has helped me get up in front of a class, and encourages me to stay focused,” Antwan said.

Antwan and Rob also work together on classroom assignments. The more Antwan learns about biology, the more he loves it. He’s already thinking about college and wants to be a biologist when he grows up. Rob has enjoyed seeing Antwan blossom over the years and continues to encourage him to share his talents with the world. Today, the two consider themselves “brothers.”

This blog post originally appeared on MENTOR.

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