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E-Family Worldwide

Empowering youth, two teens at a time




To foster teen-to-teen mentoring via the internet by creating an e-family of “brothers” and “sisters”



Building friendships and empowering youth to effect social change through innovative solutions to global challenges 


Guidance from Ruth Cox (Director of Sheltering Wings Orphanage, Burkina Faso); LearnServe International staff, including Eric Goldstein, Scott Rechler, Hugh Riddleberger, Kalpana Simhan and Jeremy Young; LearnServe International peers; Rex Head (Director of Orphanages Support Services Organization OSSO, USA); Rachel Centariczki (Mid-Atlantic Program Facilitator, Ashoka Youth Venture, USA); and Gaby Grebski (Counselor, Upper School, Sidwell Friends) is gratefully acknowledged. 

What is E-Family Worldwide? 

E-family Worldwide aims to create an e-family of “brothers” and “sisters” in order to foster teen-to-teen mentoring via the internet. E-Family Worldwide will connect teenagers in orphanages and elsewhere (hereafter called “buddies”) with teenage students in the U.S. (hereafter called “mentors”). While the buddies will have someone that will treat them as unique individuals, mentor them, and also serve as a role model for them, the mentors will gain insight into a different way of life and will develop a lasting appreciation of a culture very different from their own.


By focusing the topics of conversation between buddies and mentors on global challenges (e.g., poverty, conflict, environment, etc.) and social innovation (new ways of addressing old problems) both, the buddies and mentors, will become more socially aware and ultimately more empowered and active in addressing those challenges.


What E-Family Worldwide is not: 

The idea is not for e-family to be a pen-pal service or chat room. Rather, the idea is that e-family be a forum for structured conversations that raise social awareness and encourage social action among both buddies and mentors while at the same time providing buddies the individual attention they deserve and mentors exposure to a different culture.


I hope you will participate in E-Family Worldwide either as a mentor or a buddy.


Lara Mitra, Stanford University


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