Class learning about e-mentoring


Teal open book
CricketTogether classroom celebrates e-mentor letters
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To connect, support, and sustain 1:1 eMentoring relationships that empower every child to unlock their full personal and academic potential.

Three young Students pointing at laptop
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Children in grades 3–8 supporting each child at a critical time in developing their foundational academic skills, self-confidence, and self-concept.

Eye focused icon


Children in grades 3–8 supporting each child at a critical time in developing their foundational academic skills, self-confidence, and self-concept.

Three young Students pointing at laptop

Welcome to CricketTogether

Welcome to CricketTogether, the mission-based, mentoring-for-children initiative of Cricket Media, Inc. As you can see from Our Mission and Our Focus, we have a passion for helping children and hope that you will join us in that pursuit. Together we can make a difference!

CricketTogether believes…

If children, particularly those in underserved communities, build 1:1 relationships with eMentors through an engagement cycle that promotes ongoing connection, support and sharing around quality content and daily life,

Then, they will experience an enhanced sense of future potential along with greater engagement in learning, increased self-confidence and enhanced critical thinking and communication skills.

Technology makes it possible to effectively connect children to mentors remotely at scale to reach far more children in need.

Young people with mentors are shown to learn more, earn more, are healthier for long, and are more likely to avoid negative influences.

In fact, the impact of mentoring is so strong that
0 %
of people who were mentored want to mentor themselves.

Our Objectives

CricketTogether builds…

Positive Functioning:

  • Academic (grades, attendance, test scores)
  • Emotional well-being (happiness, self-esteem, life satisfaction)
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Stress Resilience
  • Learning curiosity and engagement (self-directed curious learners, ambition, growth mindset)
  • Greater understanding of careers and career paths
  • Relationship building

CricketTogether outcomes…

Short Term Outcomes: Increased self-confidence; improved communication and literacy skills; increased content knowledge, positive attitude toward learning; improved perceived academic confidence, increased number of positive relationships, stronger understanding of healthy relationships, improved future orientation/hope, increased understanding of career paths and career skills

Long Term Outcomes: Decrease academic problems (truancy, grade retention, dropout); increased community and school engagement; improved health and well-being, rewarding social relationships, cultural competence (understanding and forming relationship across differences)

Our Team

CricketTogether Senior Vice President of Education Products Laura Woodside

Laura Woodside

SVP Educational Products
Bringing deep experience in the education publishing and collaborative digital learning products industries combined with classroom teaching experience, Laura is responsible for educational products at Cricket. Laura brings skilled leadership in global online collaborative learning programs and product development, online mentoring, K–12 Education, Literacy and Program Management. Laura is passionate about education equity and with her team, strives to deliver experiences that change lives. She is an education professional with National Board Teaching Certification and a MS in Reading Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She lives with her family in Brookeville, Maryland.
CricketTogether Vice President of Corporate Development Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson

VP Corporate Development
Michael Peterson serves as Cricket's Vice President of Corporate Development with a focus on Cricket eLearning platforms including CricketTogether eMentoring, multimedia content and publishing, and language eLearning programs. He brings cloud and SaaS solution expertise from his leadership roles at data-driven companies including Echo360, GridPoint and Neustar. Michael studied international relations, history and computer science at the University of Virginia. He enjoys music ranging from classic rock to classical orchestral and chamber performances. Michael resides in Vienna, VA, with his wife and family.

Tracy Heitmeier

Director of Education Products
Tracy serves as the Director of Education Products with a focus on Cricket eMentoring Programs and Cricket Media Product Development. She brings 29 years of experience in her leadership roles from educational publishing and digital learning products industries. Bringing deep understanding and expertise of Literacy, SEL, Tutoring, and Writing Development for Pre-K–12 Education. Her 35 years of serving in Title 1 schools across the country is impressive. Her mission is to ensure that every child is provided an equal opportunity and has equal access to be successful. She resides in Oro Valley, AZ. She loves to swim, take beach vacations, hike, excitedly attends local theatre and musicals with her family. She believes it is our responsibility to help make the world a better place for ALL. Let’s make a difference!

Christina M. Johnson

eMentoring Program Coordinator
Christina coordinates the CricketTogether and TryEngineering Together programs and facilitates the student, teacher, and mentor relationships associated with the programs. Her impressive past experience in the nonprofit sector includes managing programs and partnering corporate volunteers to deliver children’s cyber safety education programs.

Cynthia Nugent

Digital Education Editor
As Digital Education Editor, Cynthia ensures that educational content at Cricket is effective, accurate, and engaging. With over 15 years of experience in educational publishing, and teaching experience in Montessori and traditional classrooms, Cynthia is focused on developing content that promotes love of learning. Cynthia earned her B.A. in English and Writing from Loyola University Maryland, and considers herself to be a life-long learner, always studying something new, from languages, to musical instruments, to motorcycle riding, to beekeeping.

Ruthie Fields

Full Stack Engineer
Ruthie is a software engineer with a background in education and research support. With teaching experience in both online and in-person settings, she’s leveraged technology to improve student experience and boost learning outcomes. As a research support technologist at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania, she’s provided tooling and analytics to improve information flow and provide results. Ruthie holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Boston College and a Master of Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a proud product and resident of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Nina Zolt

Nina Zolt

Prior to co-founding Cricket Media, Inc., Zolt founded In2Books, where she led the development of a research-tested 21st-century skills eMentoring program. Her goal was to improve the literacy of students in some of the nation’s most struggling schools by positively impacting students’ motivation to read, write, and think and by helping teachers improve literacy instruction through professional development. Zolt went on to co-found ePals, a K–12 company that uses a digital platform to connect millions of children in 200 countries for purposes of language learning and cultural exchange. Using the success of the digital platform, two other programs—CricketTogether and TryEngineering Together—were developed to engage students in life-changing learning relationships.

Our History

Our beginnings: We began as In2Books, a nonprofit that used paperback books and snail mail for correspondence between students and mentors, with a focus on improving literacy and expanding the world beyond students’ neighborhoods. From 1998–2004, In2Books grew from 3 classes to serving over 60% of D.C. elementary schools. In 2004, the program demonstrated efficacy for students, mentors, and corporations in these ways:

  • > 5,000 students increased standardized test scores in reading
  • > 90% of mentors returned year after year
  • Corporations voted In2Books their most popular volunteer experience 

Our Timeline: The following is a timeline of accomplishments as In2Books evolved to CricketTogether, and then expanded with TryEngineering Together and the Virtual Mentoring Portal:

Based upon the impact of the nonprofit In2Books on the students it served, a mission-based for-profit company, In2Books, Inc. (now Cricket Media), was formed to build the technology infrastructure needed to scale our learning initiatives and reach more children/students.
In 2 Books logo
The first digital version of In2Books was introduced, serving 10,000+ student/eMentor pairs in over 20 states, and earned awards for technology and learning.
In2Books won the Codie award for best ELA instruction.

An award-winning magazine line, Carus Publishing, with a vast library of short stories and articles, is acquired.
The In2Books program was updated and released as CricketTogether, using articles from the Cricket magazines, instead of books.
CricketTogether logo connecting curious minds
CricketTogether won ISTE Best of Show.


TryEngineering Together was co-created by Cricket Media, and IEEE, the world’s largest professional engineering organization.
The Learning Together Project fund (a 501c3) was established in partnership with the Hopewell Fund, offering a 501(c)(3) path for donations.
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CricketTogether receives 2019 National Corporate Mentoring Honor Roll recognition.

CricketTogether named a finalist for Best instructional Solution—CODIE awards.

Partnering with Northrop Grumman Foundation, TryEngineering Together expands to serve middle school students, grades 6–8, with a STEM focus.

The Virtual Mentoring Portal was launched in partnership with MENTOR and iCouldBe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling the reconnection of mentor/mentee pairs across the country.
Virtual Mentoring Portal CricketTogether and Mentor for ages 12 and under
MENTOR recognizes our co-founder, Nina Zolt, for her lifetime contributions to mentoring.
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Learning Together Project Fund 501(c)(3)

Through the Hopewell Fund, the Learning Together Project Fund offers a 501(c)(3) path for donations.

About TryEngineering Together™

As part of the global commitment to develop a robust STEM workforce for the future, Cricket Media, Inc. and IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity, partnered in 2017, to create TryEngineering Together. TryEngineering Together leverages the deep STEM knowledge of IEEE, Cricket’s award-winning STEM content all delivered through the CricketTogether eMentoring platform.

About Cricket

Cricket Media, Inc., the parent company of CricketTogether, is a global education company creating high-quality print and online learning products for children, families, mentors, teachers, and partners that improve learning opportunities for everyone. Led by our 9 award-winning children’s magazines and our customizable research-tested collaborative learning platform, we are committed to creating and supporting innovative learning experiences that help children safely explore and engage with their expanding world.