Al Harrington is a senior analyst for HP. He’s been working there for more than 20 years and has done development, programming, testing, systems support and more. He started “e-mentoring” students in 1996. His wife is a teacher for 5th-7th grade math “which she enjoys, and really enjoys curriculum,” says Al. They have two kids, 12 and 16 years old. “Having a teacher at home, she sometimes doesn’t want to work with homework all day. So I do. And I apply what I do with mentoring students to my own children, so that has helped me as a father,” he says. As for job morale, Al says: “As a mentor, a message you receive can make your day! What I love most about working with youth is when that ‘click’ happens, when they really get something. As a mentor, it blows you away! Work can be so hectic sometimes. It’s nice to put everything on hold and write my message to a student. It gets my mind off things. It can be a nice escape!” Here he shares some insights into helping our youth gain personal traction—and one of the best and most powerful ways to accomplish this.
POWER & VALUE: “What we’re able to do as e-mentors in this format (visit www.telementor.org) is actually reach kids in a different way, even as an adult, when most adults aren’t able to reach them. We’re working professionals, so they get an idea of what we do in our daily environment. In our discussions with them, we encourage them to continue with school and get out there into the working world.
RESULTS: “The student was just so excited, she wanted to go to college right now. That felt pretty good! When we started, she wasn’t sure. After the project, she was thrilled and really committed. Another time, a student just really had something click inside and said, ‘This is something I can use for the rest of my life’.
WHY E-MENTORING: “I’ve always enjoyed helping youth and this is a great way to do it. I can do it during the work day. HP encourages it and even promotes it. It’s very easy to work into my schedule and I don’t have to drive anywhere. The whole e-mentoring staff at www.telementor.org are great and make it very easy.”