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, 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.).    Mentoring is a component of CDI intended to deepen participating children’s international learning while offering them a caring adult role model they can share with, and learn from.

What Our Mentors Do

Mentors and mentees are matched by gender.  Once the match happens, each mentor commits to meeting with their mentee — a DC Ward 8 child 6-18 years old — at least once per month for 3-5 hours, usually on weekend mornings or afternoons, for at least one year.  Meetings should involve (1) a learning-focused component (done first) involving shared reading (article or book, online or in print) and complementary online content, and (2) a fun, learning-oriented excursion or experience, such as documentary or film viewing, visit to an international nonprofit, museum or embassy tour, cultural festival, or else.  Whenever possible, the learning should be related to the CDI projects (e.g., countries, topics) in which the mentee is or has been involved.

Mentors also join a CDI email list for mentors and foreign language partners and participate in a once-per-month “learning CDI mentoringcommunity” meeting of CDI mentors, language partners and Learning Life staff by phone, Skype and/or face-to-face to share their experiences, discuss any issues, and learn together to enrich 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.  Demonstrated interest in international affairs, experience living outside the USA and/or fluency in a foreign language are strong pluses.

Prospective mentors should have a car or be willing to pay for a taxi or public transport for both the child and mentor to safely escort their mentee back and forth from the mentee’s home in Ward 8 (Southeast DC) to the day’s experience site(s).  Mentors should be willing to provide or pay for a snack if not a meal with their mentee during their time together.  Mentors should also be willing to pay for entry fees to any museums, festivals or other venues/activities the mentor chooses, though we encourage our mentors to take advantage of the many free venues and activities available in metro Washington DC, and provide our mentors with a list of some of these.

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.