Connecting Students to Their Dreams

04 Oct 2016 | Nicole Anderson

Tagged: Aspire Mentoring Academy, Possibilities, Aspire,

We’re always looking for ways to link our philanthropy strategy with our technology, so enhancing our robust student mentoring initiative with an online mentoring program is an ideal fit. Working with leading non-profits and secure internet platforms, we’re able to connect our talented employees to students across the country virtually. 

All young people deserve to have a mentor in their lives to help them achieve success. Through the power of technology, we can bring this opportunity to more young people this school year. 

When first hearing about online mentoring, you might think that building relationships across an internet platform would be awkward and impersonal. But we’ve found it to be quite the opposite. Using technology like this reaches young people in a way that is already very comfortable and natural for them. So then students feel more at ease communicating with their adult mentors than they might have in person. And, we’re able to reach even more teens who need mentors since these relationships can be developed no matter where the two parties are located.

This is true for students like Fidel, a high school senior from Westminster, California, who moved to the United States 5 years ago. Before connecting with his mentor, Fidel struggled in school and had a hard time managing his time between sports and work. He participated in the iCouldBe program at his school last year and was connected virtually with mentor Angela Hawks-Johnson, an AT&T senior network support specialist in Houston, Texas. iCouldBe brings mentors and mentees together to collaborate on online, interactive activities focused on academic success, career exploration and post-secondary planning.  

Despite being over 1,500 miles apart, the two formed a strong bond. Angela helped him manage his time, prioritize his school work, and develop a more positive attitude. “She was like a member of my family,” Fidel commented. He often didn’t have someone to talk to during the week so Angela became that person. He looked forward to sharing what was going on in his life with her. Now in his senior year, Fidel is making great strides in school, running for student office, and making plans to achieve his dream of becoming a neurologist or audiologist.

Angela is just one of our many employees who have mentored students either online and offline through AT&T Aspire, impacting more than 170,000 students across the country. To increase our impact, we collaborate with leading education non-profits to reach students who need help the most.

This school year, we are contributing more than $1.3 million to innovative organizations such as iCouldBe, iMentor, and We Teach Science to help even more students like Fidel explore their potential through online mentoring.  

We are also providing funding to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Communities In Schools, DECA, and Jobs for America’s Graduates to bring careers to classrooms through an innovative program called Nepris. Nepris matches professionals with classrooms and individual students virtually to help connect what students are learning at school to their future careers.

These programs focus on academics as well as interpersonal skills, preparing students for college or career after high school. They expose students to real professionals and occupations, bridging the gap between dreams and reality.

All young people deserve to have a mentor in their lives to help them achieve success. Through the power of technology, we can bring this opportunity to more young people this school year. We look forward to sharing more stories with you along the way!   

About the Author

Nicole Anderson



Nicole Anderson, AVP, Social Innovation and President of the AT&T Foundation, is based in Dallas, TX.