Mentoring Program

National Center for Mentoring Excellence

A program of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute



"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. "

~Henry David Thoreau



What is mentoring?

Can you think of a time when a person believed in you so much that the dreams you once thought impossible became a reality?

Mentoring is a committed, supportive, and encouraging long‑term relationship between two participants. The older, more experienced individual (mentor) provides consistent support and guidance focused on developing the character and capabilities of the young person (mentee).



Mentor. (Mĕn' tôr, t∂r) A wise and trusted guide and advisor



Mentors have been critical to the success of many blind adults, both personally and professionally. Mentors have provided encouragement, while challenging these individuals to seek their own solutions in order to make their dreams a reality.


What are the benefits of being a mentor?

  • Having fun!!
  • Sharing what you know
  • Paving the way for future generations of blind and visually impaired
  • Deepening your ability to form influential relationships


Are you interested in becoming a mentor?

To participate as a mentor, you must:

  • Be blind or visually impaired
  • Be willing to make a long-term commitment
  • Have a desire to make a difference



"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

~Sir Winston Churchill



How can being mentored help me?

By participating in a mentoring program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Have a personal relationship with a positive blind role model
  • Learn firsthand how other blind people lead successful lives and achieve goals
  • Develop friendships with blind and visually impaired peers
  • Have fun!!



"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"

~Eleanor Roosevelt



Am I eligible to be a mentee?

  • Are you blind or visually impaired?
  • Are you between the ages of 16 and 26?
  • Are you interested in learning from the experiences of others?
  • Do you dream of a life filled with opportunities?

If you answered yes, then you can join the ranks of others whose lives have been impacted by a mentor:


Mission Statement

The National Center for Mentoring Excellence links blind and visually impaired youth and young adults, ages sixteen to twenty‑six, with successful blind mentors for the purpose of increasing knowledge and participation in the vocational rehabilitation process, post‑secondary academic success, high quality employment, and community integration.


Whom do I contact to find out more about a mentoring program in my state?

The National Center for Mentoring Excellence has partnered with the Louisiana Center for the Blind and the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to establish best practices in mentoring. For more information, please contact your state mentoring coordinator.


Carlos Serván
Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
4600 Valley Road, Suite 100
Lincoln NE 68510-4844
Tel: (402) 471-8104
Toll free: (877) 809-2419


In order to ensure the safety of the young participants in this mentoring program, all prospective mentors will undergo a thorough, confidential background check and screening process.




To find out more about the

National Center for Mentoring Excellence,

Please contact:


Amy C. Phelps
Coordinator of Mentoring and Outreach
Jernigan Institute
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659‑9314, extension 2295




National Federation of the Blind
Jernigan Institute

The National Center for Mentoring Excellence, supported by a five-­year grant from the U.S. Department of Education awarded to the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan institute, has partnered with your state agency to facilitate mentoring relationships for blind and visually impaired youth and young adults.