Y2K mentoring goes online

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Left, Susan Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, and Princella Johnson, founder of Y2K Academy, pose for a picture at the “Evening With Susan Taylor” event at Norfolk’s Crispus Attucks Theater. At this event, Taylor gave her support for the Y2K Academy mentoring program.

The Y2K Academy is taking an innovative approach to mentoring in Suffolk — doing it online.

“It’s something very cool for us to have here in Suffolk,” said Dr. Princella Johnson, founder and executive director of Y2K Academy, the youth and family outreach ministry of The Master’s House Church. “We are opening a whole new way to reach children in Chuckatuck and all over the country,” Johnson said.

Y2K Academy has been serving families since 2004. However, Johnson has found that transportation has been an issue in helping children and their families through mentoring.

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“Transportation should never be an issue in helping children who need us,” Johnson said. “We eliminate that problem and connect people in a safe environment.”

Y2K Academy mentors not only children, but also their parents. Y2K teaches parents life skills, resume writing, goal setting and more. The organization also is launching a mentor program specifically for fathers in March and one specifically for mothers in May.

“It’s good to impact the whole family,” Johnson said. “Out of not understanding goals, parents can un-teach skills [the mentor has] been teaching the child.”

When the parents are happier and more fulfilled, they are more likely to have better relationships with their children.

“The whole goal is to better serve the children,” Johnson said.

In order to keep the online environment safe, potential mentors are required to have a background check, training and a personal interview. Mentors who are involved in online mentoring are not permitted to meet with their assigned youth outside of the online platform or to exchange pictures. All correspondences will be monitored. Anyone who does not follow these guidelines will be immediately dismissed from the program, Johnson said.

Y2K Academy will be holding a recruiting event for all of its mentoring programs on Saturday, Feb. 26 beginning at 10:30 a.m.

“We hope to get many more men from different backgrounds to work with the dads,” Johnson said. “Everything they need to apply will happen that morning.”

Law enforcement agents will be there to fingerprint applicants and complete all of the required checks. Prior to attending this event, potential mentors should complete the online registration and application on the Y2K Academy website.

Both former Gov. Tim Kaine and Susan Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, have offered their support for the Y2K Academy mentorship programs. Gov. Kaine filmed a video in which he endorses the Y2K mentoring programs and encouraging Hampton Roads residents to become mentors.

Susan Taylor showed her support for the program at an event celebrating Black History at Norfolk’s Crispus Attucks Theater, where she encouraged the audience to support the Y2K program and to support the recruitment event.

For more information, visit www.y2kacademy.webs.com.