The Stand By Me Mentoring program’s “Road Map To Your Future” initiative is designed inspire mentees to think of college and career possibilities and to connect youth to area businesses.

On Feb. 29, 30 mentors and mentees boarded a chartered bus and traveled to Mountain View to tour Google. A friend of the Mentoring Alliance arranged for the special tour, as Google does not offer tours to the public.

The mentors and mentees had a chance to speak with employees and to tour the Google Museum. They used Chromebook laptops and participated in a tutorial of programming animations using scratch.mit.edu.

One mentee commented, “It was a great opportunity to learn what is behind the web page.” Another teen, said, “Coding was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.”

Later in the day, the group ate in the Google cafeteria and had a chance to see the complex’s swimming pool and volleyball courts.

To sum up the trip, mentor Diana Garmus shared her thoughts of the day, “George Whitman is reputed to have said, "All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher." On February 29, Google was the school and the Googlers were the teachers. Trips such as this play an important role in opening up the eyes and minds of children who would otherwise likely lack such exposure, who would not hear from successful young adults who clearly enjoy their jobs, who would not see for themselves the benefits such jobs offer, and who would not know to dream that this type of future could be theirs.”

The trip was made possible by a grant from Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.