Sofia&Danjha.7.20.19Learning Life is a nonprofit education and citizen engagement lab based in Washington, DC.  Our flagship program, the Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI), connects families in different nations via the internet to nurture a family-to-family form of citizen diplomacy.  In support of FDI, we run an international mentoring program that helps open the world to selected kids from our lower-income families in DC and abroad.

What Our Mentors Do

Our mentors and mentees are generally matched by gender.  Once matched, our mentors in DC and our youth  living abroad connect online via Facebook, Whatsapp or another internet 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.  Mentors and mentees who both live in DC do the same, but in person, and also visit metro DC museums, embassies, cultural events, foreign restaurants, etc.   

Learning Life mentors commit to meeting with their mentee at least once per month, preferably at regular days and times (e.g., Sundays afternoons) for at least one year.  Mentors are also expected to participate in a learning community with fellow Learning Life mentors and language partners.  This includes an email list, and once-per-month 1.5 hour meetings via Skype of small groups of six or fewer mentors and language partners to share their experiences, ideas and resources, and learn about mentoring and related issues.

The Mentors We Are Looking For

First and foremost, prospective mentors should be caring, patient adults who like working with children.  Prospective mentors Desmond and Javionshould 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 or French 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 in 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 Mentor

Prospective mentors submit their resume for review, have an interview with Learning Life staff, and must pay for a criminal background check (cost: $25).  Please email us at if you have any questions, or to submit your resume for consideration.

To Become a Mentee

Parents or legal guardians interested in a Learning Life mentor for their child or children should be active participants in our Family Diplomacy Initiative’s Facebook group that engages families internationally.  In addition, families must be engaged directly (face-to-face) with Learning Life or one of its community partners abroad (currently FUSALMO in San Salvador, El Salvador, or the Collectif pour la Promotion des Groupes Vulnerables in Dakar, Senegal), have income below their country’s household median income, and parents/guardians with less than a bachelor’s degree or 4 years of university.  Families working with Learning Life in Washington DC must live in Ward 8 in Southeast DC.  Parents or legal guardians whose family fits these requirements and would like a mentor should email us at with any questions, or to schedule an initial survey screening to ensure eligibility.