BCEF is seeking additional volunteer mentors for its career networking platform for Batesville High School (BHS) students, according to BCEF executive director Anne Wilson. BHS alumni or other community members who are willing to provide students with information about their career experiences are invited to join the closed-access platform.
“We currently have just over 600 BHS students with active profiles on our Bulldogs Connect career networking platform,” Wilson explained. “Students created and edited their profiles during school orientation in August, and during the next few months will be tasked with finding an online mentor. Our mentor total is at 384 right now, so we need volunteers from all sorts of careers to step up to make this work for our students.”
Mentor participants can be BHS alumni or other interested community members who want to make a difference in a high school student’s life by sharing about their career experiences and answering questions on a one-to-one basis. All communication is done via an online messaging system and is closely monitored by BCEF.
“Our Bulldogs Connect career networking platform is ground-breaking for a public school system,” Wilson explained. “In fact, we are the only public school system in the entire United States using this software, which is usually utilized at the collegiate level. This platform allows BHS students to reach out online to Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) alumni or other Bulldog-connected mentors to explore career options, ask questions, and receive guidance from someone with whom they share a common background.”
In early 2021, BCEF invested additional money into the platform, adding a feature called Pathways. Pathways allows BCEF to work with the high school administration and faculty to develop various modules to be completed by the students which will display workforce readiness and career networking skills.
“We’re excited to get Pathways up and running this year and have already test piloted the feature with the BHS Mentorship class students,” Wilson added. “A future module this year will involve having students connect with mentors on the online platform so they can ask questions to learn about careers they might want to explore.”
Mentor participants can be at any stage of their career: in college, early career, mid-career, late career, or retired. In a similar vein, participants from all kinds of careers are needed: those that require further education after high school and those that do not. While BHS alumni are preferred, any local community member who demonstrates why he or she would like to serve as a mentor is encouraged to apply. BCSC parents and faculty are also encouraged to get involved.
“From the college sophomore who can answer questions about what the freshman year is like to the retired person with newly found time available to give back — and everyone in between — we have a place for mentors on the platform,” Wilson concluded. “Sign-up takes just minutes and mentors can set limitations on how many messages they receive and how much they want to be involved. The bottom line is that these students need mentors, and BCEF is confident that the Batesville community will step up to meet that need.”
To join the Bulldogs Connect platform as an alumni or non-alumni mentor, visit www.bulldogsconnect.org and click “Join Our Community.” Once a profile request has been submitted, BCEF will review the information for approval. Questions about Bulldogs Connect can be sent to the platform at bulldogsconnect@BatesvilleEducationFoundation.org.