With the help of our current partners, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and National 4-H Council, Michigan 4-H Tech Wizards matches caring adult mentors to groups of up to four young people for year-long mentoring relationships that impact and enhance their lives.
This program strives to bridge the gap between STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) industry needs and education by reaching youth who have not previously considered STEAM careers and who do not have an adult role model in these fields. Although there are many opportunities in 4-H for youth to explore their STEAM interests, the intentional mentoring model of 4-H Tech Wizards combines STEAM exploration and life skill enhancement with the positive developmental outcomes of mentoring. In addition, regardless of the careers they ultimately pursue, youth in the program become equipped with important 21st century skills related to technology, critical thinking and self-guiding working processes.
Mentoring matches in the 4-H Tech Wizards program are supported by MSU Extension’s professional mentoring staff. With more than 20 years of expertise in the mentoring field, MSU Extension has implemented state and national quality mentoring standards. This includes the performance of mentor and mentee intake and screening, as well as orientation and training. Throughout the duration of the match, mentors and youth are supported with activity supplies and ideas, additional training and more.
Mentees are between the ages of 8 and 17. They meet weekly throughout the year for two hours at a time, and work together on STEAM activities with their mentors. These activities are the catalyst for building effective mentoring relationships that teach young people life skills and spark their interest in the possibilities of STEAM.