Mid-Year Potluck Connects Mentors & Families
Today, Learning Life held its second mentor-mentee potluck bringing together mentors, mentees and their parents in Washington, DC. The event follows on a successful first mentor-mentee potluck held in December 2018 to nurture community among our mentors, mentees and their families, and to welcome new mentors and families to our mentoring program.
All of our potlucks feature mostly foreign foods to help our mentees and their families learn about the world. Participants in today’s potluck tasted orzo salad from the Mediterranean, Chinese fried pork, central American plantains, French pastries, and other tasty foods kindly made or purchased by Learning Life volunteers and mentors. During the meal, participants learned about Learning Life’s accomplishments thus far this year and plans upcoming, discussed some favorite moments from mentoring thus far this year, and listened to a presentation by mentor, Meli Ordoñez, about food culture and safety in Senegal, where Meli traveled in March, and where some of our families are based. (Meli kindly spent a portion of her birthday with us today!)
Launched in 2018, Learning Life’s mentoring program is different from conventional mentoring programs in that it crosses national borders and is intended to help open the world to kids. More specifically, while all of our mentors are based in the United States (mostly in metro Washington DC), some of our mentees live abroad, currently in San Salvador, El Salvador, and Dakar, Senegal. Also, the activities our mentors and mentees engage in are focused on learning about the world. Learning Life mentors who meet face-to-face with their mentees visit museums, embassies, cultural festivals, foreign restaurants and other venues to learn about the world. Mentors who meet online with their mentees abroad connect their mentee’s interests with the world. For instance, a girl who likes dance may learn with her mentor about dance styles and shows in different countries. A boy who would like to travel to a particular country may watch videos and/or read articles about that country with their mentor.
Learning Life’s mentoring program is targeted to benefit lower-income children who do not have the opportunities to travel and learn about the world that more privileged kids have. The program is free, powered by caring adult volunteers, and limited to selected, motivated lower-income families who participate actively in Learning Life’s Citizen Diplomacy Initiative. The program is small — currently 15 pairs of mentors and mentees — given our limited resources to help ensure safety, quality and sustainability. We aim to expand to about twenty mentor-mentee pairs by the end of the year.
The next mentor-mentee potluck will be held on a Sunday in December in Washington, DC.
For more information about our mentoring program, or to volunteer as a mentor, click here.