Organizations Come Together to Serve Up Mentoring Opportunities with Local Deaf Youth and Professionals

Erin Souza-Rezendes, Director of Communications
April 17th, 2019
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Mentor Recruitment Campaign Comes to Washington, D.C. to Amplify Inclusive Relationships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To engage the local community and expose professionals and young people to the possibilities of mentoring, Starbucks, LinkedIn, and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership hosted an evening of relationship-building, career mentoring, and inspiration as part of the 10,000 Connections mentor recruitment campaign on Tuesday. The event, hosted at the Starbucks Washington, D.C. Signing Store, engaged Deaf and hard of hearing youth and mentors, in partnership with Partners for Youth with Disabilities, the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, and Gallaudet University.

According to The Power of Relationships, the largest-ever survey on adults’ views, participation, and investment in mentoring, mentoring is bringing people together. Mentoring is gaining greater attention and momentum across communities, sparking connections and expanding opportunities for young people and adults alike. Adults from all walks of life are giving their time and resources to support young people, with more than two-thirds of adults saying they are mentoring or willing to consider it. Americans are overwhelmingly crossing racial, economic, and other bridges to mentor young people outside their families.

Last night’s event at Starbucks showed those connections sparked in real life, with local professionals and students engaging in mini career mentoring sessions using sign language. Starbucks Signing Store Manger Matthew Gilsbach kicked off the evening and highlighted the power of relationships to expand access to opportunities and career pathways.

“Investing in Deaf leaders of the future by connecting them with successful Deaf mentors will inspire them to take action and see that they too can be successful in anything. I would not be where I am today without inspiration and guidance of my mentors,” shared Matthew.

Gallaudet University’s first Deaf President, Dr. I. King Jordan, and current President Roberta Cordano both participated in the event. They were joined by career mentors Kirsten Poston (Disability Program Manager at the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation), Michelle Sherbondy (Program Analyst and Contracting Officer’s Representation at the TARGET Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture) and Fred Weiner (Director of the Real Estate Foundation and D.C. Government Relations at Gallaudet University).

In March 2018, LinkedIn and Starbucks joined forces with MENTOR to launch a nationwide campaign designed to connect more than 10,000 mentors and mentees across the U.S. The goal is to support even more opportunities for those looking to jumpstart or grow their careers. The campaign has hosted 26 events across 16 cities, many hosted by MENTOR’s local Affiliates and in Starbucks stores, to engage potential volunteer mentors. Event participants and the public can search for volunteer mentoring opportunities in their communities at and engage on social media using #10kConnections.

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the mentoring gap and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its Affiliates and works to drive the investment of time and money into high-impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research, and state-of-the-art tools. 

For any press or media inquiries, please contact Erin Souza-Rezendes, Director of Communications, at or 774-644-0176.