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Mentoring Matters: Setting Up Youth for Success

A woman from the Blue Crew reads to a young girl.

January is National Mentoring Month, which recognizes the importance of mentoring youth to help them reach their potential. It is also an opportunity to celebrate volunteer mentors and mentees, each of whom invest significant time and effort to cultivate meaningful relationships.

Our Blue Crew volunteers have embraced one-on-one mentoring as a means of making a positive impact in the lives of young people and the community at large. In 2018, 82 Blue Crew volunteers dedicated nearly 800 hours in support of several unique mentoring programs. Blue Crew participation in community mentoring programs has risen every year, as volunteers have increasingly realized the benefits of giving back in such a special way.

Mentoring Opportunities in Philadelphia

The Blue Crew partners with leading community organizations on mentoring programs that support children across various ages and stages of their lives. Because of this diversity of programming, our volunteers are matched with mentees whom they can build a successful relationship with and make a lasting impact. These partnerships include our work with:

  • Philadelphia Reads. For more than 25 years, we’ve partnered with Philadelphia Reads to cultivate a love for reading and learning among grade school students. Currently, 40 first-grade students from Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary School visit our Center City office each week throughout the school year for a “power hour” of reading. Each student is matched with a Blue Crew volunteer, and the students experience the joy of reading as well as the excitement of visiting our offices — inspiring them to strive for success!
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region. The Blue Crew partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region on two different mentoring programs, with 30 associates volunteering as “Bigs.”
    – For 3 years, Blue Crew volunteers have served as mentors to students attending the Russell Byers Charter School, visiting once a week during lunchtime. Our volunteers serve as Bigs to students from grades 4 to 6 — a pivotal time for development and academic progression.
    – Last year, the Blue Crew began a new partnership with the iMentor program, a new and innovative program that empowers students to graduate high school, succeed in college, and pursue their ambitions. Each volunteer is matched with a high school freshman at Parkway Center City High School, with the goal of supporting their Little through graduation and onward in their lives.

Why We Invest in Mentoring

Research shows that mentoring is an incredibly valuable experience for young people of all ages. Our dedicated mentors build lasting personal connections with their mentees, while empowering them to lead successful, productive, and happy lives. These special relationships are equally rewarding for mentors, who experience the joy of sharing their experience and skills to help enrich another.

But, it has benefits for our company and associates, too — the Blue Crew’s volunteer efforts align with our mission to enhance the health and well-being of the communities we serve. Our volunteers are living this mission as they help one person at a time along the pathway to success. The mentoring relationship is truly a win-win for both participants, though our mentors feel that they get back more than they give in playing this vital role in someone’s life.

Interested in Becoming a Mentor?

If you have the time and willingness to invest in a mentoring relationship with a child, there are plenty of opportunities in Philadelphia. Interested members of the community should contact Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, which has a waiting list of over 1,200 kids seeking a mentor.


Courtney McDade

Courtney McDade first joined Independence Blue Cross in January 2006 as a member of the Human Resources department. She went on to play a leading role in establishing the IBC Foundation in 2011 and continued to increase her responsibility in managing strategic projects in Public Affairs. In her current position, Courtney manages the Community Affairs department, including the Blue Crew corporate volunteer program and United Way campaign. Her work focuses on engaging associates and community partners in meaningful service projects that improve the health and well-being of our neighborhoods. Courtney received her Bachelor’s degree in Business from Wake Forest University in 2005 and graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from La Salle University in May 2016. Courtney loves to volunteer and is always looking for new opportunities to support the community where she, her friends and family live and work.