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Nonprofit Mentoring Associates is contracting with Village News for internship program

Julie Reeder


Mentoring Associates (MA), a nonprofit established March 9, 1998, by Jerry Donohue, is celebrating 25 years by expanding their internship program and contracting internship work and opportunities with Village News. By working with Village News, Valley News, Nuestra Vida Hoy and Reeder Media, MA can take advantage of a staff with a combined 350 years of experience, a strong brand, and a combined readership of over 500,000.

The world has vastly changed since 1998. In 2023, Mentoring Associates has new leadership and is expanding its board, vision, work, and reach through partnerships with the newspapers and a digital media company which have already been operating a successful internship program for 25 years with students from almost every school in Fallbrook, Bonsall and Southwest Riverside County.

Mentoring Associates will show students who are searching for authenticity and purpose -- beyond entertainment -- that there is life beyond TikTok! Mentoring Associates will now provide career development and experience, educational opportunities, personal growth and development, encouragement and school credits needed for graduation. They will be exposed to community leaders, fire and sheriff personnel, and volunteers working hard to make our town amazing.

Every kid is a genius wanting to emerge. These internships and mentoring opportunities utilize assessments to help young people discover their unique strengths. They are then offered opportunities to learn journalism, writing, editing, video production, social media, graphic arts, project development, bookkeeping, marketing and advertising in print, social and online media. They are taught that if they put time and effort into something, they will get better at it and they can eventually become an expert in the field, or they can try their hand at another field until they find something they really enjoy.

Mentoring Associates’ mission in contracting and working with the newspapers is to take the opportunity to teach students to do the hard work the First Amendment affords through proper journalism, critical thinking, free speech and freedom of the press, or other careers such as graphic arts, social media marketing, copy creation and distribution, administration, photography, or video production.

There is a rich, purposeful life beyond Tik Tok. Students can’t be hooked on entertainment like Tik Tok, social media, or gaming all day and maximize their opportunity for success. They will receive encouragement to serve their communities, their families and do the best they can.

A history of success. Village and Valley News interns over the years have gone on to Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and entered various careers from cable television travel show hosts, to national news and magazine writers and even professional football players. We also offer introductions, networking, and letters of recommendation. Other interns have started with the newspaper and stayed for many years.

Our opportunities and partnerships are invaluable to students who know what they want to do and also for students who are searching for significance and something that is interesting to them. The program serves both students who are college bound and those who want to go directly into a work opportunity.

The Mentoring Associates board includes President Karielee Barrere who is a professional medical educator with experience starting nonprofits, Treasurer and Secretary Ellen Fusco who is also a professional Grant Writer and Volunteer Coordinator and Director Jenna Ortiz. I have been hired as the Executive Director.

In a post-pandemic world where students are spending a majority of their time behind screens, mostly for entertainment (negative and positive), we invest in them, providing real connection with great people, in addition to career development, experience, encouragement, and purpose, because there is a rich and meaningful life beyond Tik Tok!


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