For those looking for design mentoring programs in Jacksonville, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the Discover Design Mentoring Program, which is targeted to high school students living in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Since 2008, this five month mentoring program has paired high school students with an interest in design with local design professionals in the community.

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One aspect of the program is creating materials that encourage others to get involved in their communities. Source: Nick Sherman

Throughout the duration of the program, the students meet with their professional design mentors on weekends to complete design related projects that will better the community. Examples of previous projects that have been completed include posters to encourage voting, billboards that promote tolerance, and an iPad app that highlighted local cultural “hot spots” around Jacksonville for teens to check out.

The effectiveness of this mentoring program has been incredible, encouraging the quieter students to really come out of their shells and find themselves. Much of this can be attributed to the mentoring relationships that the students have built with their design professionals, which has offered them confidence and trust to see the project through.

This program has helped students to connect some of the basic design principles that they have learned in school to a larger social, economic, and cultural environment and find ways to improve upon it. In addition, the mentors participating in this program are often exposed to new ways of thinking about things, and the students help them to be aware of things that they may not have known about otherwise. We look forward to seeing more local design mentoring programs offer the same benefits to mentors and students in the future.

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