|First Lady Sharon Davis served as keynote speaker at the Keys to Successful Mentoring Programs Virtual Mentor Training Conference at Cal Poly Pomona.|
|The virtual training conference united mentoring programs across California using the latest internet technology, including one in Sacramento seen on the video monitor.|
First Lady Sharon Davis remembers being a self-conscious young girl with ?bad hair.?
?Not bad hair days, but a full year of really bad hair,? Davis recalled to a group of nearly 80 mentoring advocates at Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday, Oct. 10. ?It really affected my confidence.?
?But then a mentor came into my life and helped me gain the self-confidence I needed to do what I do, and it made me realize that mentoring was an area I wanted to be involved with.?
The first lady was the keynote speaker at the Keys to Successful Mentoring Programs Virtual Mentor Training Conference held at Cal Poly Pomona and 13 other sites simultaneously.
Governor Gray Davis and the first lady formed the Governor?s Mentoring Partnership (GMP) four years ago to help address the social ills of youth across the state. The first lady stressed to conference participants the importance of forming strong and effective mentoring coalitions.
?We all know studies have shown that when children are mentored they do better in school and are less likely to get involved with gangs and drugs, alcohol and teen pregnancy,? said Davis. ?Mentors are teachers, role models and friends. Mentors can be every part of a young person?s life.?
The GMP was established by 400 organizations and 32 coalitions, according to Davis. Since 1999, the State of California has invested $85 million for mentoring.
Thursday?s virtual conference linked more than 400 representatives from mentoring programs across California using the latest Internet technologies. Throughout the day, conference participants at sites connected to the Digital California Network from Sacramento to San Diego engaged in group discussions and received pertinent information from mentoring experts at this statewide training event.
The conference was co-sponsored by Cal Poly Pomona, University of California Office of the President (UCOP), CENIC?s Digital California Project (CENIC-DCP), UC Irvine Department of Education, UC Santa Barbara Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Sacramento County Office of Education and the Governor?s Mentoring Partnership.
?Cal Poly Pomona is a national leader in the use of video over the Internet in support of education,? said Michael Berman, vice president of Instructional & Information Technology at Cal Poly Pomona. ?This is more than TV ? it?s a way to provide a virtual connection that brings people together across the state for a common purpose.?
Cal Poly Pomona and sites in Santa Barbara and Sacramento were two-way interactive. Another 11 remote sites received one-way video broadcasts, but allowed attendees to participate in discussions via computer chat rooms.
Advanced technology allowed Dr. Jean Rhodes, a mentoring professional, to give a research-based overview on the status of the mentoring field from the University of Massachusetts.
Participants also attended workshops that addressed the topics of communicating with today?s youth, recruiting mentors, e-mentoring and building collaborative partnerships.