Yes, there are electronic mentoring programs that connect people with disabilities to peers and mentors via the Internet. Before joining an e-mentoring community, young people should obtain permission from their parents or guardians, who should check out the community and sponsor before allowing their children to participate. Apply Internet safety guidelines, such as those at SafeKids.Com. The authors of this Knowledge Base article share information about mentoring programs for people with disabilities, but inclusion on the list below does not imply endorsement.
- ABA Mentor Program- The American Bar Association's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law established its Mentor Program to give law students with disabilities, prospective law students with disabilities and recent law school graduates opportunity to learn from experienced attorneys.
- AccessComputing- AccessComputing is a project that supports individuals with disabilities who are interested in careers in computing fields. Mentoring focuses on college preparation, work-based learning, and resources to support interests in computer science and information technology.
- AccessSTEM- AccessSTEM supports individuals with disabilities who are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mentoring focuses on college preparation, work-based learning, and resources to support STEM interests.
- Institute for Human Centered Design- Institute for Human Centered Design supports international mentorships between design professionals and students or entry-level designers with disabilities who are interested in design. The goal is to recruit individuals with disabilities into architecture and landscape design professions and support them in their efforts.
- CareerConnect- CareerConnect has a database of successfully employed blind and visually impaired adults who are willing to discuss their work lives and how they perform their day-to-day work responsibilities with or without accommodations.
- DO-IT Pals- DO-IT Pals is an e-mentoring program for college-bound teens with disabilities. Mentors are college students, faculty, and practicing engineers, scientists, and other professionals.
- E-Buddies- E-buddies facilitates email friendships "between children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their peers who do not have intellectual disabilities." Individuals are matched in email friendships based on age, gender, geography, and interests.
- Partners for Youth with Disabilities- Partners for Youth with Disabilities was created to enable youth and adults with disabilities who live in Massachusetts to share resources, advice and encouragement through a secure online community with forums and chat rooms. Mentoring focuses on many areas from independent living to sports to managing stress.
- The Lime Network is a virtual program that prepares and connects students with disabilities for career success regardless of their geographic location. It aims to rebrand disability as achievement.
For more information about the benefits of electronic mentoring, read the Knowledge Base article What is the benefit of electronic mentoring to students with disabilities? You may also be interested in viewing the video Part of Me, Not All of Me in which teens with disabilities share their interests, activities, and other aspects of their lives showing that their disabilities do not define who they are. Additionally, the video What's It Like shares the experiences of college students with disabilities as they discuss how disability impacts their identity.