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2021 SHIELD Saturday Leadership Academy Launch Recap

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

The SHIELD Mentor Program welcomes over forty (40) youth participants into the 2021 SHIELD Saturday Leadership Academy.

Greensboro, NC, February 2021 – On Feb. 6, the SHIELD Mentor Program launched the first virtual orientation for the 2021 SHIELD Saturday Leadership Academy, a 12-week leadership program where mentees and mentors will spend time together 100% online based on common interests and topics of discussion.

Brandy York, a Board member of the SHIELD Mentor Program, welcomed the volunteers, youth and families by saying, "I am so excited about this upcoming leadership academy...I know that you guys are going to have wonderful experiences, and I'm just hoping that as we transition through this new online mentoring – I do not doubt in my mind – that it is going to be just as successful as if we were really in person."

Through the adversities of COVID-19, the SHIELD Mentor Program has sought new and innovative ways to continue the work of mentorship in the community. The footprint begins with the transition of the well-known SHIELD Saturday Leadership Academy into an online mentoring format through the newly designed SHIELD Online Community, a custom-built online mentoring platform offering online networking, inspirational messages, age-appropriate online programs, mentoring circles, weekly live events, games, and much more.

The continuation of programs and services will give youth participants the opportunity to attend online mentoring sessions facilitated by mentoring program staff. Over twenty (20) volunteer mentors are working diligently to make the program a success. The mentoring staff will be just a text message or video chat away from helping a mentee with the things in life that they may need help with. For instance, a child may be having a dreadful week and want to talk to someone who will listen to them. This is another essential aspect of a child’s life that has been extremely limited when families are stuck in homes for the majority of the time.

Online mentoring will allow the SHIELD Mentor Program to use a whole slew of technologies from live events, video calls, chats, online forums, and virtual reality meeting spaces; the possibilities for what mentoring relationships can look like are endless. For example, mentees will join virtual events for two hours every week to discuss topics such as career and educational goals. Mentees will be provided weekly prompts for weekly meetings with their mentoring circles. Mentoring circles will allow groups of mentees and mentors to talk about their common interests through video calls.

Together, youth and adult volunteers will participate in interactive workshops, team-building exercises, leadership development, and focus on a specific theme, such as goal setting, decision making, conflict resolution, effective communication, and teamwork. This unique opportunity offers underserved populations of youth the ability to be exposed to college and professional mentors while receiving mentoring and leadership development services.

Precious McKoy, the Founder/Executive Director exclaimed that "We have been through almost an entire year of social distancing, and it’s time that we get back on track. That’s why our theme is 'YOUR DESTINY IS NOT DELAYED'. We want our young people to know that there is still a world waiting for them full of opportunities. Although we are navigating life differently, I can assure you that shifting our young people's mindset will be key to unlocking their dreams. It’s going to be a game-changer for our SHIELD families. We are going to put in the work to get great results out of this online mentoring program."

We know that young people will need an outlet and someone they can confide in and reach out to when things are tough. That’s something we were able to do in person that has been quite a challenge lately.

The SHIELD Mentor Program (SHIELD) is committed to giving young people leadership development skills to succeed in life. In particular, youth and families who are struggling in school will need additional mentoring support not only to remain on track in school but in life.

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