YES BANK is committed to support Akanksha Foundation in its endeavor to strengthen educational experiences for under privileged through employee volunteering for the Akanksha Mentor Program. Inspired by the Minds Matter Mentor Program in New York City, Akanksha's Mentor program seeks to pair each Akanksha class 8-10 child with a mentor. The mentor-mentee pairs meet once a week to work on matching a child's aspirations with his or her skills and family reality. Mentors open the world of careers to mentees and guide them through the difficult adolescent phase. Mentees in turn, offer mentors a meaningful insight into a different world, friendship and respect, and the ability to bring about positive change through service.
YES Bank employee volunteers provide career orientation, general and academic guidance to children enrolled with Akanksha Foundation through the Mentor Program. The program comprises weekly meetings spread over two hours held at YES BANK offices. Apart from the 'class-room' discussions, the program also involves exposure visits and excursions aimed at enhancing the overall learning experience.
Akanksha Mentor Program in YES BANK was initiated more than two years ago, and has grown over the past couple of years with a significant scaling up in the current year. With the organizational growth and increase in number of employees since its inception in 2004, the Bank has reached to overall employee strength of 3,500 which provides YES BANK enormous opportunities for further scaling-up with larger employees participation across all the major bank facilities in the country.
The mentor program was started with a small number of volunteers (6) at YES BANK and equal number of children from Akanksha Foundation, more than two years ago. Of the total six children, half were girls. Five of the kids have graduated to beyond school program and started further education at college. YES BANK also provided employment opportunity to one of the Akanksha mentees to work as Relationship Manager with YES BANK's microfinance program in Mumbai.
The Akanksha Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to impact the lives of less privileged children, enabling them to maximize their potential and change their lives. Akanksha works primarily in the field of education, addressing non-formal education through the Akanksha center and also formal education by initiating school reform.
Following the Bank's efforts to promote volunteerism among employees, the program is in the expansion mode in the current year with increased participation from employees as well as number of children from Akanksha Foundation. This year, there are 15 volunteers and equal number of children involved in the program. As more and more employees express interest in participating with the program, the overall number is expected to increase further.
For this commitment, Yes Bank aims to achieve the two objectives below:
1. Employee Volunteering - YES Bankers aim to provide career orientation, personality development and academic guidance to children between the ages of 12-16 years enrolled with Akanksha Foundation through the Mentor Program which comprises weekly meetings spread over two hours held at YES BANK offices. Apart from the 'class-room' discussions, the program also involves exposure visits and excursions aimed at enhancing the overall learning experience.
2. Career Development - Taking the Mentor Program a step further, the Bank works to help Akanskha deliver holistic development opportunities to underprivileged children. Apart from guiding the participants of the Mentor program in terms of career choices, the Bank also extends employment opportunities to other Akanksha Alumni e.g. the Bank has recently hired an Akanksha graduate as a Relationship Manager for our microfinance initiative - YES Microfinance India.
The first anticipated milestones of this project are as follows:
- Starting in September 2007, Yes Bank intends to reposition the program to offer more directed guidance to mentees in terms of career choices as most of them have graduated from school.
- The Bank also plans to continue career development for the participating children and improve the quality of the program so that the children of Akanksha Foundation benefit from the program in a substantial manner.
The program aims to achieve the following targets:
- Double the number of volunteers to approximately 30
- Double the number of beneficiary children by 2009 to approximately 30
- Regularly monitor and promote the programs' activities
- Utilize monitoring tools as recommended by Akanksha Foundation