I have been blessed to be asked to be a mentor, a number of times now, and there are a couple of organizations out there doing amazing things, facilitating learning of the trades and arts for youth. Harbor Freight, the company known for having cheap knock off tools, (that are sometimes amazing deals), that are a part of the problem discussed in our post with the Story of Stuff crew, are actually doing something really positive with their capital.
They are investing in the youth, by pairing them with mentors (makers, innovators, technicians of all kinds) and putting up real money to actually ground this into reality. For 120 hours of working with a mentor, the students receive $1,000 and the mentors receive $500.
My first experience with the Harbor Freight fellows was this past summer. I was mentoring a class of five students at the Crucible (where I have taught for 10+ years) to create a sculpture piece for Schnitzer Steel (more about them in our next article). I must say, I was impressed when the founder of HFF showed up and actually put a check in each of our hands! Definitely unexpected but welcomed.
The Crucible apprenticeship program itself is called, "Fuego". It really is a fantastic experience for the youth. Working closely with them, seeing and hearing how they have utilized the program and grown, is a powerful experience.