The American Council of the Blind (ACB) Mentoring Program will begin as a Pilot Program with 12 mentors and 12 mentees from September 2022 through June 2023. Applications will be accepted from Friday July 15, 2022 until August 15, 2022. The ACB Mentoring Team will review all submitted applications and carefully select the most qualified mentor candidates to pair with those who express interest in being mentored.
Selections will be formally announced to the ACB membership during early September and updates will continue to be made available.
Apply to Become a Guide or an Explorer
Our selected mentors will be addressed as Guides and selected mentees will be addressed as Explorers.
We encourage members to strongly consider completing an application, which contains specific questions that will inform us of your experience, abilities and areas in which you may desire to grow. Receiving more applications for mentors will strengthen our ability to match mentees with qualified mentors. Mentors will be asked to provide the name and email address of a reference to respond to designated questions. Selected mentors and mentees will attend a specialized orientation and training session to gain a better understanding of how the program will work. At the close of the program year, mentors and mentees will complete an evaluation form.
We will continue to gain input and support from the MAPS Advisory Council, which consist of professionals who have developed and directed various mentoring programs.
Apply to become a Mentee/Explorer or a Mentor/Guide by clicking on the appropriate Google Form link below. Google will ask you to log in to your google account, however you can still access the form without signing in. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your ACB membership, volunteer service, committee service and skills. Those who are applying to be mentored should be prepared to share goals and aspirations. Don’t delay. Apply today!
About the Mentoring Program
Introducing the ACB Mentoring Team
- Cheryl Cumings, Chair of the ACB Multicultural Affairs Committee
- Donna Brown, Co-Chair of the Berl Colley Leadership Institute Training Committee
- Kenneth Semien, Sr., Chair of the Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Fund Committee
- Donna Browning, Liaison of the ACB Membership Committee
The Compelling Need for a Formal ACB Mentoring Program
- Honor the member adopted Resolution 2020-11.
- Work to sustain ACB for a bright future.
- Prepare members for meaningful participation in the work of ACB.
- Assist in developing a diverse group of interested members for future leadership roles within ACB.
Mentorship, Access, and Peer Support Program (MAPS) Program Overview
“Your link to Guidance, Understanding, Intervention, Direction and Empowerment”
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) aligns its programs and services with its mission, purpose, vision and core values. The development of a mentorship program will address a variety of concerns expressed by members and leaders within ACB. This program will serve as a roadmap and place an emphasis on meeting each member where they are and offer guidance to achieve desired goals and aspirations, while working to sustain and position ACB to be the premiere venue for Americans who are blind, visually impaired or have low vision. This program will be extended to meet the needs of affiliates, committees and chapters as they are encouraged to incorporate effective strategies into their respective areas of service.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’ –Helen Keller
We will seek to define mentorship as it pertains to our organization and work to identify members who will sign on as mentors. Mentees will be matched with a mentor through various means, including consideration of whether a mentee prefers a specific mentor, sharing a professional experience with an established mentor, determined best practices, etc.
Guidelines and processes will be developed to ensure that those selected as mentors meet prescribed criteria that will be placed within the application.
Members will be given the opportunity to access an array of meaningful information, resources, training sessions and personalized support.
An emphasis will be placed on connecting with members through the provision of knowledge, experience, emotional, social and practical support.
Define how we can best provide guidance to inspire members to take a journey with us as we explore and share proven connectivity concepts that are supportive of their specific needs, while allowing them to feel free to express their thoughts throughout the process.
It will be important for us to demonstrate good listening skills and respectful communication as we consider the background and life experiences of our members. This will assist us in determining the best course of action.
A mentor is a solution oriented individual who focuses on areas in which another person can receive insight, inspiration, and encouragement. There are times when a mentor is able to observe particular traits being displayed that may reveal evidence that timely intervention may very well assist an individual in advancing, when otherwise the lack of support could result in unfavorable outcomes.
Confirm the goals and aspirations of each participating mentee in an effort to provide adequate and personalized orientation, direction, advice, techniques, leadership, a method of monitoring progress to determine when and if other courses of action are necessary, and assist in maintaining focus on the desired outcome.
Following the provision of purposeful tools and techniques to accomplish goals and aspirations, members will be better prepared to confidently and independently move toward their desired level of success.
Resolution 2020-11 directs ACB’s board of directors and staff, in consultation with the Multicultural Affairs Committee, to develop and implement a policy encouraging African-Americans and other people of color to become involved in the leadership of this organization. Also instructs ACB to develop a mentoring program designed to seek out and elevate African-Americans and other people of color into leadership positions, including a provision for recruitment of members from the population of African-Americans and other people of color who are blind or have low vision. Directs the Multicultural Affairs Committee to prepare a seminar to be presented at the 2021 D.C. Leadership Meetings on recruiting and mentoring of African-Americans and other people of color, along with an article to be published in “The ACB Braille Forum” on recruiting and mentoring African-Americans and other people of color who are blind or have low vision. Finally, this resolution instructs ACB to undertake an ACB census to better understand the diversity of this organization at all levels by February 1, 2021 and that collecting data on ACB’s diversity be incorporated into the membership certification process moving forward.