GrandMentor: online intergenerational literacy
Mobile Technologies for social inclusion
LATAM, Other countries
GrandMentor is created by two researchers from Columbia University to solve two major social problems: (1) LITERACY is a predictor of academic success. One in two Latino and Black 4th graders read below grade level (34% of all America's 4th graders) (NAEP 2009). Many children lack access to crucial one to one reading at home or in the classroom (Moody et al. 1997). (2) AGING: By 2030 about 1 in every 5 Americans will be 65 years or older and about a third of their lives will be spent in retirement (NIA 2005). Successful aging depends on mental activity and social ties (Rowe, 1996). We have a product in beta, a successful feasibility study and we are currently providing service at schools in NYC and California. We have developed over 50 e-books and e-guides for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and created strong partnerships with leading senior organizations: SeniorNet, Jewish Home Lifecare, Older Adults Technology Services, Visiting Nurse Service of New York , Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and the Californian Teachers Association. In the past 2 years we have conducted successful pilots at various public schools at underserved neighborhoods of New York City and Oakland, California, with a strong presence of Hispanic families . To date all our accomplishments have been done with no funds thanks to the pro-bono work of GrandMentor founders and volunteer interns.
GrandMentor helps underprivileged students (grades K to 3rd) by offering free one-on-one reading mentorship by trained retirees. Once a week, students connect with the same mentor, using Skype, to read and discuss high quality children's books . Mentors use educator-developed, book-specific guides with questions targeted to developing vocabulary and comprehension skills. All our books are high quality and grade-specific children's. We use both fiction and non-fiction works; both are important for enhancing a child's literacy skills.
Dual goal: Literacy: Children improve reading skills with free personalized literacy tutoring. They received crucial one-on-one reading that so often lack at home or at the school Successful Aging: Senior volunteers prevent cognitive decline and reduce social isolation by giving back. By engaging in a meaningful experience they improve their feeling of ‘having a purpose in life’ and avoid depression.
In the next years we expect to start new pilots and expand the program to more schools in the US and in Latin America, automate some aspects of training and program coordination through our website to improve scalability and find corporate sponsors so the program can be offered free of cost to eligible schools.
GrandMentor will bring better education and healthier seniors. We expect to serve 150.000 K- 8 students and senior citizens by year 5. Success Student metrics: (1) Total number of children-mentor pairs. (2) Increase in vocabulary, comprehension and love for books among students who participate in our program measured by the Developmental Reading Assessment and change in attitude towards books. (2) Increase in rates of reading to proficient level by 4th grade children in our program since 1st or 2nd grade, measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Success Senior Metrics: (1) Improvement in depression and emotional health attitudes measured by pre/post tests using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and self-reported attitudes (positive attitude toward aging, sense of usefulness and purpose); (2) Improvement in cognitive health measured by pre-post assessment using the Cognitive Abilities Survey Instrument.
- IT development: create an application where participant schools can post their preferred times and number of students and where volunteer seniors can post their available times (currently the matching between student and tutor is done manually) - Curriculum development: expand the digital books to more grades (kindergarden and 3rd grade), add more non-fiction content. - Create a 'sales' team to adquire new schools and create strategic partnerships (e.g. publishers)
- Personnel: 2 management, 2 sales representatives, 1 educational expert, 1 person to create/maintain partnerships - IT System maintenance - IT New developments - Senior training - Marketing -Legal - Travel
We need some computer engineer to help us improve our website and digital educational materials. We also need to create partnerships with publishing companies, Retired Teacher's Unions, Powerful senior organizations such as AARP , School networks.
If you are interested in this Idea we can put you in contact with the promoter. Just ask for information at firstname.lastname@example.org