The guidance and support of good mentors are critical to success at every stage of life. Students who have the benefit of strong mentors are more likely to maintain focus, earn higher grades, finish high school, and proceed onto college.

Project Ready Mentor targets African Americans and other urban youth, ages 11 – 18, who are particularly vulnerable to disengagement from school, community, and the workforce. The program helps students succeed academically and grow socially through the development of essential life skilld and effective work habits.

Our Approach

Performance in the classroom is an important indicator of life success, but academics is only part of a larger picture. The National Urban League dedicates resources to a range of supports, services, and opportunities to help young people develop into well rounded, productive, and responsible adults.

Project Ready Mentor provides these resources and supports via two approaches:

  1. The Relational Approach builds a trusted relationship between mentor and mentee via mutually interesting activities, such as reading or volunteerism.
  2. The Instrumental Approach encourages growth and learning through Project Ready activities, such as mentor-mentee college visits, shared technology projects (building a robot, for example), or developing a small business/entrepreneur plan together.

Our Impact


young people served since 2011


hours of mentoring and youth development provided per participant per year


affiliate participants since 2011

Youth can take advantage of a range of Urban League developmental and learning opportunities such as tutoring, college preparation courses, remedial and alternative education pathways, job shadowing, career days, classroom and job-based training classes, and others, each of which is enhanced by mentoring.


  • Intake and student assessment
  • Individualized college and career development plan
  • Parent/caregiver/family engagement and support


  • Mentor identification and support
  • Mentor screening and interviews
  • Ongoing mentor training and support (virtual and in-person)


  • Youth/mentor matching process Mentor and peer-to-peer relationship-building
  • Culmination of mentoring relationships

Eighteen Urban League affiliates across the country have participated in Project Ready: Mentor since 2011, providing additional and enhanced mentoring services to close to 2,000 young people already being served in one of a participating affiliate’s existing education and youth development programs. Through Project Ready: Mentor, these youth receive a minimum of 182 hours per year of individual, group, and virtual mentoring and positive youth development learning opportunities.

  • Buffalo Urban League
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Columbia Urban League
  • Fort Wayne Urban League
  • Houston Area Urban League
  • Indianapolis Urban League
  • Knoxville Area Urban League
  • Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
  • Springfield Urban League, Inc.
  • Urban League of Central Carolinas, Inc.
  • Urban League of Greater Atlanta
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford
  • Urban League of Louisiana
  • Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Urban League of Oklahoma City
  • Urban League of Palm Beach County
  • Urban League of Rochester
  • Urban League of The Upstate