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Empowering students to pursue Higher Education!

Belén Educa Foundation - Mentoring Program

Santiago, Chile
The Belén Educa Foundation yearns for a more just and compassionate country where each person has the possibility to forge their talents, especially children who may not receive many opportunities in life. The program seeks to form links between company executives and students to promote the continuance of their studies.
Introduction

Creating Spaces for Dialogue and Trust

Carmen Cisternas Zañartu, Director of Institutional Relations
“The joining of these two worlds, which benefits the business sector as much as the youth, will allow youth to raise their sights and have higher expectations”

Carmen Cisternas Zañartu, Director of Institutional Relations

What we do?

Belén Educa Foundation, in its endless pursuit to offer tools and opportunities towards an integral education for students in situations of poverty, developed a mentoring program.

It rose from the necessity of last-year students needing spaces to have conversations about their life plans. These young students belong to vulnerable sectors and, generally, in their homes, their parents or guardians work all day and have little time for dialogue. 

The students do not have references in their community of anyone who has entered higher education, therefore, we seek to find leaders that can tell them about their professional experience and the paths they have taken in life.

What is asked of the mentor is the following:

  • To promote skills, abilities, and values that the student can strengthen in their personality.
  • To offer tools that allow better performance in academic and work settings while also contributing to one's personal life (e.g. how to establish goals and resolve conflicts).
  • To encourage, ask and create spaces for permanent reflection in the meetings with students.
  • To promote the formation of networks and support between the student and mentor.
  • To guide the student through their choices for higher education and find the funding necessary to achieve that goal.

This program physically takes place at the locations of the companies so that the student can leave their environment. In Chile, the cities are divided by socioeconomic conditions. Therefore, allowing students to experience another social sector by expressing themselves and having conversations, viewing the spaces where they can develop as a professional, it will allow them to expand their views and believe in themselves, getting rid of their fear and the prejudices that exist between both worlds. 

The main objectives are:

  • Offering last-year students from the schools of Belén Educa personal guidance on any concerns they may have about personal matters, school or work, helping them to discover their life plan and incentivizing them to continue their higher education. 
  • Creating a space for two worlds to meet: the world of business and the youth from vulnerable sectors, searching for a space of mutual enrichment. 
  • Forming a link between the students with people who have attained some form of higher education, whether it be technicians or college graduates, considering that the students generally do not know people with higher education.

Why we do it?

Reality shows that living under vulnerable social contexts hinder youth in displaying their full potential. This forms low expectations and frustration that can lead to dropping out of the school system or the impossibility to continue their higher education. 

To confront this issue, that in the long term can mean the perpetuation of poverty, in 2008 Belén Educa Foundation created the Mentoring Program. The program is an opportunity for executives from outstanding companies to act as an individual and monthly guide for students in their last year of high school. Through the six monthly meetings, they seek to promote professional skills and help them outline their life plan, visualizing their future career and continuing their higher education. 

With this guidance, transforming the life of a student is possible and it promotes social mobility in Chile through access to higher education. So far, 84% of the students that have participated in this program have entered institutions of higher education in comparison with the national average of students in Chile which reaches 49.7%. This program devotes itself to fulfilling dreams. Furthermore, it presents a valuable opportunity for executives to contribute to quality education which is the main engine for progress. 

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Innovation Overview
16 - 18
Age Group
5 962
Children/Users
2
Countries
2008
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
192
Views
Tips for implementation
1. Guidebook for mentor, rules & criteria for mentor and student 2. Company executives committed to social development 3. Students enter program voluntarily 4. Comfortable physical space for meetings at the company 5. Introduction and ending ceremony 6. Program coordinator for school and company
Connect with innovator
Pilar Reyes
Media

See this innovation in action

Students with their Mentors
Final Ceremony Group Photo
Student meeting mentor for the first time
Mentoring Program being implemented in Russia

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

Spread of the innovation

Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Contacting Companies
Initial contact with trusted companies that have a great reputation in the country and share the same institutional values as Belén Educa Foundation.
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02
Program Introduction for Mentors and Students
Encourage students to apply for the program! Inform them of the benefits it could have in broadening their views, potential, network, options, as well as learn more about the world of employment and professionalism.
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03
Initiation Ceremony
Match students and mentors based on personal interests, hobbies, and profession. At the Ceremony, introduce each pairing to each other and state the guidelines of the process.
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04
Six Meetings
Ensure that the mentor and student commit to six meetings every 20 days for the course of 6 months.
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05
Final Ceremony
Space for student and mentor to share final thoughts and their most significant experiences.
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06
Final Evaluation
Evaluations from the mentors, students, and the program coordinators for the schools and companies.
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