Breaking social barriers: A participatory observation of social-media interactions in an undergraduate-student mentorship of at-risk youth at a foster care institution in Puerto Rico

Elenita Irizarry Ramos - University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus


This thesis paper employed qualitative methods to capture the online interaction of undergraduate volunteers as part of an undergraduate-student mentorship program. This program was developed to provide mentorship and tutoring for at-risk-youth at a foster care institution. A total of twenty participants communicated via Facebook to supplement coordination meetings. Participants were enrolled in a three-credit free-elective service-learning course from the University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez. The development of a sense of community among mentors in a closed Facebook group was observed. Results through critical Discourse Analysis suggest Facebook both fostered and facilitated a sense of community.