Bianca & Claudia

Based in Washington D.C., Learning Life is an educational nonprofit devoted to spreading learning in everyday life beyond school walls.  Learning Life’s flagship program, the Citizen Diplomacy Initiative (CDI), engages lower-income American families – starting in Washington D.C. – in live internet dialogues and project collaborations with lower-income families in other nations to democratize diplomacy and nurture more caring and capable global citizens. Through the dialogues, the families collaborate to accomplish community-based international projects that nurture their interests, knowledge and “civic skills” (research, writing, photography, video, public speaking, etc.).    Learning Life’s mentoring program supports CDI by deepening participating children’s international learning while offering them a caring adult role model they can share with, and learn from.

What Our Mentors Do

CDI mentors and mentees are matched by gender.  Once matched, our DC mentors and our youth abroad in El Salvador, Senegal and Jordan connect online via Facebook, Whatsapp or another platform, learn about each other, read about, watch and discuss local to global issues together using readings, photos and videos, and explore educational opportunities for the mentee.  Our mentors and mentees living in DC do the same, but in person, and also visit metro DC museums, embassies, cultural events, foreign restaurants, etc.   

CDI mentors mentoring a child abroad commit to meeting online with their mentee at least twice per month, preferably at regular days and times (e.g., Sundays 4-5pm). for at least one year.  CDI mentors mentoring a child in DC commit to meeting at least once per month, usually on weekends for 3-5 hours, for at least one year.

Just as important as their mentor-mentee meetings, mentors are also expected to participate in a learning community with fellow CDI mentors and language partners.  This includes an email list, and once-per-monthCDI mentoring 1.5 hour meetings via Skype of CDI mentors, language partners and Learning Life staff to share their experiences, consider any issues, and discuss short readings relevant to our mentoring.

The Mentors We Are Looking For

Prospective mentors should be caring, patient adults who like working with children.  Prospective mentors should have at least a bachelor’s degree, or be in college to complete one.  They should also have a demonstrated interest in international affairs through study, work, and/or experience living outside the USA.  Prospective mentors who wish to mentor one of our children abroad should speak Spanish, French or Arabic at an advanced to fluent level.

For mentors of DC kids only: You should have a car or be willing to pay for a taxi or public transport to accompany your mentee back and forth from their home in Ward 8 (Southeast DC) to the day’s experience site(s).  You should be willing to provide or pay for a snack if not a meal with your mentee during your time together.  You should also be willing to pay for entry fees to any museums, festivals or other venues/activities you choose, though we encourage you to take advantage of the many free venues and activities available in metro Washington DC, and we provide our mentors with a list of many of these free opportunities.

To Become a CDI Mentor

Prospective mentors submit their resume for review, have a face-to-face interview with Learning Life staff, and must pay for a criminal background check (cost: $20).  Please email us at if you have any questions, or to submit your resume for consideration.