From February through May, Affinity Plus provided 35 students from three schools in Minnesota the opportunity to connect with an their employees through eMentors. Created by BestPrep, eMentors is the nation’s largest email mentoring program and fosters partnerships between local business professionals and students. Participants learn more about a particular career field, develop business communication skills, and make connections between classroom learning and their future professional goals.
“We always enjoy working with Affinity Plus volunteers to reach students in Minnesota through eMentors,” said BestPrep’s Education Outreach Specialist, Jonathan Filzen. “In each connection, I have seen the volunteers’ enthusiasm and desire to give back to the community. The organization clearly prioritizes youth and community involvement and they continue to have a deep impact on students’ lives.”
Due to an overwhelming response by Affinity Plus employees to participate in the eMentors program, the credit union was able to support three classes throughout the state, including students from Rosemount High School, South St. Paul High School, and Chisholm High School. Employees from over 20 different departments and branches volunteered, providing students the opportunity to communicate with employees who have a diverse array of perspectives and professional experiences.
“I am so impressed by the commitment that our employees have in helping to shape and mold our future workforce,” said Dave Larson, president and CEO of Affinity Plus. “Being a mentor to a young person is a life-changing experience – people remember those connections, and I’m so proud of our work through this program.”
Teachers incorporate eMentors into their curriculum in a variety of different ways, and the program can support students’ learning surrounding business, writing, and career exploration.
“eMentors was a wonderful experience for my students and they all walked away being better people from this experience,” said Jill Ratts, teacher at Rosemount High School. “The students I work with don’t always have options for connecting with responsible adults in their life. One of my students completely changed his direction and goals after having his eMentor experience. He now wants to go into banking or something in the business world. He and his eMentor had a great connection that created meaningful dialogue with a lasting impact.”
Each student is able to meet their eMentor in person through a one-time Meet & Greet luncheon, hosted at an Affinity Plus branch location and facilitated with the help of a BestPrep employee. Students were able to share their experiences working with their eMentor and how they will be able to use the information and advice they have been given.
“We talked about different aspects of business and interviewing in class, so it was nice to be able to talk with my eMentor about her experiences,” said one student from South St. Paul High School. “After hearing her perspective, I feel better prepared for the business world and some of the opportunities that will come my way.”