Submitted by AOL Time Warner, Inc.
NEW YORK, New York - Software Builds on Success of Digital Heroes Campaign Pilot Program; AOLTW Brands PEOPLE, Warner Bros., HBO and America Online in Initial Launch Steve Case Accepts MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership Corporate Leadership Award on Behalf of Company
"Mentors Online: The E-mentoring Tool Kit" will provide a secure online environment for e-mail exchanges, tools for simple program management and evaluation, customizable Web sites, online training and access to resources for mentors, all of which create an easy-to-use turnkey e-mentoring kit. Partner companies and organizations will use the tool kit to implement their individual e-mentoring programs.
The announcement was made at MENTOR's annual Mentoring's Big Night/Excellence in Mentoring awards dinner, at which AOL Time Warner was honored this year for its work to advance mentoring.
According to an estimate by MENTOR, 15.7 million underserved children (ages 10-17) need mentors, but through traditional programs approximately only 2 million of them are currently in a mentoring relationship. "Mentors Online" is designed to close this gap by potentially linking millions of new mentors with young people utilizing the power and convenience of the Internet. "Mentors Online" will make it easy for volunteers to become and remain e-mentors by creating useful tools for mentoring organizations that support communications between adults and young people through email and online interactions.
Steve Case, Chairman of AOL Time Warner said, "I'm honored to accept this recognition on behalf of the people of AOL Time Warner, and thrilled to be joining MENTOR and our other partners in capturing the strength of the Internet to foster creative, sustained and effective links between young people and mentors. Almost 16 million kids need mentors, and 'Mentors Online' will make it easier for them to have one. A core part of our mission is to use the power of media, communications and information technology to enrich people's lives. I can't think of a better way to help meet that mission than to put this power behind helping kids succeed."
"MENTOR and mentoring organizations in communities throughout the nation owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to AOL Time Warner for dramatically expanding mentoring through the Internet and 'Mentors Online,'" said Geoffrey T. Boisi, chairman and co-founder, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. "AOL Time Warner has been most generous in its continued support of Mentoring.org, our award-winning Web site. And by leveraging its resources, technology and innovation to develop 'Mentors Online,' AOL Time Warner truly has taken the lead in providing resources for the 21st Century mentor. Their efforts will enable us to dramatically expand the reach - and positive impact - of mentoring nationwide."
As part of the E-mentoring Clearinghouse, MENTOR will distribute "Mentors Online - The E-mentoring Tool Kit" software directly to partner companies, which will in turn recruit employee volunteers to become mentors and utilize the "Mentors Online" tools. These mentors will be trained to use the software, matched with young people, and supported by their companies and by MENTOR.
The national e-mentoring effort builds on a successful pilot program called the Digital Heroes Campaign (DHC), a partnership between the AOL Time Warner Foundation, PEOPLE Magazine, America Online, MENTOR and PowerUP that has linked over 230 at-risk young people with online mentors including AOL Time Warner executives and celebrities like Glenn Close and Gregory Hines since its launch in 2000.
PEOPLE and America Online are continuing their commitment to e-mentoring by joining HBO and Warner Bros. as partners in the launch of "Mentors Online: the E-Mentoring Toolkit" to AOL Time Warner employees. Each will promote the software to employees and recruit employee and executive volunteers to become e-mentors.
AOL Time Warner and MENTOR will build on these initial partnerships to roll-out the software throughout the company and recruit outside companies and organizations to the "Mentors Online" campaign via AOL Time Warner brands, the MENTOR website (www.mentoring.org) and direct marketing.
MENTOR gives awards for Excellence in Mentoring on an annual basis. In addition to AOL Time Warner, which received the Corporate Leadership award, other 2002 award winners are Congressman Thomas Osborne (NE-03) for Public Service and Take Stock in Children for Program Leadership.
About the AOL Time Warner Foundation
The AOL Time Warner Foundation seeks to use the power of media, communications and information technology to serve the public interest and strengthen society. The Foundation engages the full range of AOL Time Warner's unique resources to build innovative and sustainable programs in four priority areas: Equipping Kids for the 21st Century; Extending Internet Benefits to All; Engaging Communities in the Arts; and Empowering Citizens and Civic Participation.
About MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership
For more than a decade, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership has been leading the movement to connect America's young people with caring adult mentors. MENTOR exists so that, with the help and guidance of an adult mentor, each child can discover how to unlock, and achieve, his or her potential. MENTOR is widely acknowledged as the nation's premier advocate and resource for the expansion of mentoring initiatives nationwide. As such, MENTOR works with a strong network of State and Local Mentoring Partnerships to leverage resources and provide the support and tools that mentoring organizations need to effectively serve young people in their communities.
QUOTES FROM DIGITAL HEROES CAMPAIGN E-MENTORS
Geoffrey T. Boisi, Chairman and Co-Founder, MENTOR/NMP - I am tremendously encouraged by the prospect of engaging more adults and more young people in mentoring via the Internet. My own experience tells me that e-mentoring has a great future.
Raymond G. Chambers, Chairman, Amerlior Foundation - I believe mentoring is the single most critical element in positively impacting the life of an at-risk child and, thus, significantly affecting societal change.
Glenn Close, Actress - I am the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl. Every day with her is a beautiful adventure. I care about what our kids are thinking and feeling. If a child can benefit from contact with me I know that I will be inspired and blessed by contact with them.
Greg Gumbel, Sports Anchor - I immediately thought that if I were a youngster, I'd want to be a part of this and would hope to be able to communicate with a celebrity.
Jack Hanna, Host "Animal Adventures" - When I was young, I looked up to Marlin Perkins. It's really important to have great role models, especially in your career field.
Gregory Hines, Actor and Dancer - We are always hearing about the amazing things technology enables us to do. I feel that using technology to connect with kids who need attention is about as amazing as it gets. I'm hopeful that our Digital Heroes Campaign will become a mighty force in the drive to reach out and help prepare our young people to be strong and capable citizens of this world.
Landon Y. Jones, Managing Editor, PEOPLE Magazine 1989-97 - I am participating in 'Digital Heroes' because there is no substitute for having someone believe in you. I was lucky enough to have parents and teachers who believed in my potential. Now I am grateful that, through technology, PEOPLE can give me the same opportunity to help someone else.
Daryn Kagan, Anchor, CNN - I remember starting out in TV news. An accomplished journalist gave me a big chunk of her time. I asked her how I could ever repay her. She told me when I make it, I should turn around and help someone else on their way up. That's what I tell the young people I now spend time with.
Jerry Levin, Former CEO, AOL Time Warner - Whether through the new medium of the Internet or the traditional one of the classroom, there is no more vital role than that of teacher. Teachers are the real heroes of our society. It's my hope that The Digital Heroes Campaign will increase the focus both on the importance of teachers and on the capacity of technology to ensure that all children, everywhere, have the help and support they need to learn and succeed.
Marlee Matlin, Actress - When I was 12 years old, a man told me 'follow your heart, follow your dreams. If you follow them, your dreams will come true.' That man was Henry Winkler and it was his response when a well-meaning friend asked Henry not to encourage me to be an actor because there was no way a deaf person could succeed in the very competitive field.
Danny Meyer, Restaurateur - The Digital Heroes Campaign is a meaningful opportunity to extend caring hospitality beyond our dining room and into the community.
Richard Parsons, CEO, AOL Time Warner - Each one helps another. That's what this program is all about.
Colin Powell, Secretary of State - All of us need to reach out and help a kid become a winner in life.
Rick Reilly, Columnist, Sports Illustrated - The most fun I have is being with kids. I figure it ought to work in cyberspace, too
David Robinson, Center, San Antonio Spurs - We all need heroes. They encourage us, and inspire us to reach beyond our perceived boundaries.
Rick Schroder, Actor - Hopefully I'll give some good advice to a young person and help them make good decisions.
Mike Utley, Former Detroit Lion - I am participating in The Digital Heroes Campaign because the youth are our future and we need to teach them that tough times never last - tough people do!
Thomas Von Essen, Former Fire Commissioner, New York City - I am very grateful for my good fortune in my job and family. An opportunity to help a young person work toward that same possibility really excites me.
Note to Editors/Producers: MENTOR's awards dinner is open to media. It will take place tonight, Monday June 10 at 6P.M., the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street (btw 6th and 7th Avenues).
More from AOL Time Warner, Inc.