When Reginald Dunlop decided he wanted to be a pilot, it was tough to find a role model who looked like him. The lack of an African American mentor did not deter Dunlop from becoming a commercial pilot, a career he enjoyed for two decades. But to keep others from experiencing the same hurdles, Dunlop created 4BlackYouth.com.
“The key areas of the site are the scholarship directories, jobs and internships, the mentor connect community, and career profiles where there are over 300 careers students can quickly sort through,” Dunlop said.
The social media aspect of the site allows students from anywhere in the country such as Ashley Sanders, who lives in Westchester, Illinois to be connected to a mentor like marine biologist Dani Washington who lives in Miami, Florida.
Boat captain David Linnear and pilot Lester Harris have been online mentors since the beginning of the site’s operation.
“It not only keeps the lines of communication open, but also gives them tools to go back and review,” Harris said.
While most of 4BlackYouth.com is free, there is one part that is not, and that’s the online tutoring section, but it’s not your average face to face help session.
Sanders used 4BlackYouth to raise her geometry grade from a C to an A, partly because tutors were available 24/7.
“You don’t have to wait. You just log right in however long you want to be on there. Perfect,” Sanders said.
4BlackYouth.com is only 2 years old and has a Facebook page that boasts more than 2,000 users, and Dunlop wants to keep growing the site.
“In the future we want more corporations to participate through mentoring, through sponsorships so we can spread the message and spread the work that we are doing in a broader scale.”