The pay-off of mentoring

By Jamila Cherif


Do you enjoy working with kids? Pushing your limits further than your comfort zone? What about meeting new people and gaining professional experience? And finally, would you like to earn money fast and honestly? Well if you said yes to all of the above criteria, you can become a mentor for children in a program known as SEEK (Summer Engineering Experience for Kids), organized by the National Society of Black Engineers. Founded in 1975, NSBE consists of more than 394 collegiate, pre-collegiate and professional technical alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. It has more than 30,000 members and represents the largest student-governed organization in the country.

I suppose you’d like to know when camps start or how to get in? Well it is in the summer, and camps last 30 days with an introductory training week for the mentors. Then, the other three weeks will consist of teaching kids how to build a variety of engineering toys with curriculum provided by different educational organizations and corporate sponsors for math and science concepts at appropriate age levels. And don’t worry if you aren’t a science major! There will be three mentors (one lead, two supporting) in a classroom, and one will match that requirement.

Before camps start, you will be interviewed online and if you are recruited you’ll get feedback for a background check. One thing that will be required is a tuberculosis shot, in order to be in contact with kids. Classes are from Monday to Friday, and mentors need to be in place from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., but they may be asked to stay longer for daily debriefing.

You have to be at least 18 years old to be a mentor. Also, the camp is free and it’s possible for your relatives to be part of it. After the first week, mentors will receive their first paycheck of $500. And then at the end of camp they will get the remaining $1500. Moreover, food is served during the formation week and every Friday parents bring lunch for the entire camp.

Camps take place in several different states such as Louisiana, Illinois, New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, etc. Last but not least, you can participate in more than one camp because they are not scheduled at the same time. For example, after finishing SEEK NOLA 2015 some mentors went onto SEEK Thibodaux for another month. Plus, housing is offered in some locations.

Overall, there is an agreeable familial atmosphere in SEEK camps, so everybody gets to know one another and stays in contact. It’s a very recommendable summer activity because it’s fun and instructive. To become a part of SEEK; visit NSBE.org to check requirements and dates for registration.

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