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Our blog features posts on new program developments, profiles of our mentor-mentee pairs and news from the mentoring and youth-development fields. Check back often to see what we've been up to or sign up to receive email updates.

7 Things I've Learned as a Mentor

Quinton Mudd Posted on April 14, 2014 - 2:46pm
Quinton, left, with his mentee, Ismael.

National Volunteer Month is a time to give back, and as a volunteer, I figured the best way for me to do that is to recruit even more mentors. By sharing the seven things I've learned since being matched with Ismael, I hope you'll be inspired to nominate someone who has what it takes to mentor a deserving student:

1. We have more to offer than we realize. As I spent time with Ismael, I began to notice that I could help him simply by talking about my own experiences, failures, and successes. I didn’t need to be Superman. I didn’t need to have all the answers. I just needed to listen.

2. His life is his. There are times when Ismael focuses on things I don't think are important. I have to remember that he is 12 years younger than me, which means I can’t expect him to think like an adult. He will undoubtedly make mistakes, but with every mistake, he has an opportunity to learn.

3. Those we mentor can mentor us. I’ve learned a lot about myself from Ismael during our three-year correspondence. I often marvel at his work ethic and maturity. He inspires me to be a better man.

4. Quality is better than quantity. I’ve seen how far a few simple words of encouragement can go. How we talk to young people changes the way they think about themselves. Once their thinking changes, their behavior follows.

5. Educate, don’t train. Training someone is simply expecting them to follow the rules. Educating them means encouraging them to think independently and providing them with the tools to think critically. When that happens, you empower a kid for a lifetime.

6. Mentoring can change the world. Young people with mentors have better attendance, higher self-esteem, and a greater chance of going to college. Imagine how we can shape the world if every kid is matched with a mentor who nurtures and believes in them.

7. The future is now. There’s no better time to build our community of volunteers. iMentor will enroll 3,000 more students this fall. Each one of them needs a mentor like you.

I hope you'll join me in expanding iMentor's network. Nominate someone today to be a mentor by clicking here and sending them an eCard.

Happy National Volunteer Month!

Posted on April 7, 2014 - 3:32pm

It’s National Volunteer Month! To celebrate, iMentor is honoring the amazing men and women who volunteer with our program, while simultaneously kicking off our biggest mentor recruitment effort to date.

Incredible things happen when we connect iMentor students with compassionate mentors—worlds expand, minds broaden, obstacles are overcome. If you know a friend, family member, or coworker who would make a great mentor, nominate him or her by sending a message through one of our eCards.

It’s simple. Click here, choose a card, and email someone who has what it takes to empower a young person to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. This year, we’re looking to expand mentoring to thousands more young people by broadening our network of New York City volunteers.

We’ve already been blown away by the level of commitment from our mentors. And throughout the month of April, we’ll be spotlighting their dedication on our blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Stay tuned, and join us by helping us spread the word!

Highlight Reel: iMi Partner Conference 2014

Posted on March 19, 2014 - 5:12pm

We captured highlights from our first iMentor Interactive (iMi) Partner Conference, held earlier this year at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

At this inaugural event, iMentor convened more than 50 youth-development experts to discuss mentoring best practices and improving college success for students from low-income communities. Each year, iMentor will host the iMi Partner Conference to leverage the power of diverse learnings within our partner community.

Click on the video above to see our dynamic partners in action.

iConnect Wine Tasting Packs the House at Chelsea Wine Vault

Posted on March 7, 2014 - 10:42am

The spacious Chelsea Wine Vault was the setting of last night’s popular iConnect Wine Tasting Party and fundraiser. More than 100 attendees sipped delicious wines from around the world, while sampling artisanal cheeses sponsored by Murray’s Cheese.

Each year, this exclusive event provides opportunities for iMentor's diverse community of mentors and supporters to network among their peers; engage in discussions around mentoring, education, and college readiness; and introduce their friends to the organization.

Located in Chelsea Market, the Chelsea Wine Vault is a Zagat-rated wine shop for enthusiastic oenophiles. All proceeds from the event go to support iMentor’s mission to build mentoring relationships that empower students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

Join the Team iMentor Challenge

Posted on February 27, 2014 - 1:44pm

We’re gearing up for the 2014 Team iMentor Challenge, our annual mentor-driven campaign designed to raise awareness and funds to further iMentor’s mission.

From March 1–31, our mentors create personal fundraising pages on Crowdrise and ask friends, family, and coworkers to sponsor their mentoring commitment by making a donation.

The Team iMentor Challenge is also a competition between mentors representing their mentees’ schools. The winning school will get an amazing prize for all mentors and mentees (not to mention bragging rights). Pairs can also qualify for individual prizes like premium Knicks tickets, tickets to iMentor's Fall Benefit, VIP tickets to our Spring Benefit, gift cards, T-shirts, and more.

Click here to learn more or to join this year’s Challenge. And to make it a little more fun, the first 100 mentors who sign up will get a free iMentor T-shirt! For more information, contact Suzanne Chipkin at [email protected] or 646.797.4412.

Macro Risk Advisors Supports iMentor During Charitable Trading Day

Posted on February 25, 2014 - 2:01pm

Macro Risk Advisors (MRA), a market-risk analysis and execution firm headquartered in New York City, donated more than $68,000 to iMentor as part of its second annual Charitable Trading Day.

Each year, MRA makes a commitment to support nonprofits with a charitable trading day in which all commissions earned after a day of market trading are donated to selected organizations. This year, MRA chose to support nonprofits that provide educational opportunities to underserved children.

iMentor was selected because of our unique model to build mentoring relationships that empower students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

In total, MRA raised $275,000, also donating to the Children’s Storefront, BELL, and the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America.

“Choosing the organizations was a lengthy process, but it was well worth it,” said Brian Bier, head of sales and trading at MRA. “We wanted to represent organizations focused on promoting educational opportunity at different phases of development. In choosing these four, MRA’s support will help young individuals from ages 4 through 22 achieve their potential.”

iConnect: Wine Tasting Party

Posted on February 24, 2014 - 5:34pm

Sip delicious wines and support iMentor at the first iConnect event of 2014.
Join mentors and friends on March 6 for an evening of fine wines from around the world, and sample a selection of artisanal cheeses provided by Murray's Cheese.
Space is limited, and tickets are selling fast. Click here to reserve your spot today. You can also help us expand our network of college-educated professionals in New York City by inviting your friends to join us for this popular event.
Located in the Chelsea Market, the Chelsea Wine Vault is a Zagat-rated wine shop for enthusiastic oenophiles. All tastings are included in the ticket price, and proceeds support iMentor's programs.

iMentor Featured in State of the Union Live Stream

Posted on January 29, 2014 - 3:42pm

During the White House’s live stream of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, iMentor was once again included in President Obama’s message about improving college opportunity for young people.

iMentor’s commitment to match 20,000 new students from low-income communities with mentors over the next five years was prominently featured in a graphic that appeared in a split screen alongside the president. It was the second time this month that White House has highlighted iMentor.

Two weeks ago at an education summit, called Expanding College Opportunity, President Obama announced iMentor's commitment to expand its programs nationally. More than 100 education leaders were invited to attend the summit, including iMentor CEO Mike O'Brien.

“We are honored that iMentor’s work was highlighted during the State of the Union address and at President Obama’s College Opportunity symposium,” O’Brien said. “As the president has emphasized, we need to find new, innovative ways to ensure every student has an opportunity to succeed in college. By leveraging mentoring, iMentor partners with schools to provide the personalized support students need to get into college and succeed once they are there. iMentor is dedicated to expanding our work to reach more students and schools across the country.”

iMentor Interactive Hosts Inaugural Partner Conference

Posted on January 28, 2014 - 11:14am

Last week, more than 50 youth development experts traded mentoring best practices and strategies to improve high school and college outcomes for students at the first iMentor Interactive (iMi) Partner Conference.

Held January 23–24 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, the event was designed to connect iMi partners, all of whom who run college-success mentoring programs based on the iMentor model. iMentor staff, partners, and even a mentor and mentee led panel discussions and workshops over the course of the two-day event.

Among the topics explored were helping students develop non-cognitive skills, recruiting and retaining mentors, fundraising, building stronger mentor-mentee relationships, and implementing the iMi curriculum.

“What we wanted to do at this conference was bring together lots of people from lots of different communities who care about these issues, because we can do more together than we can separately,” said iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien. “When we look at the role of mentoring and college success from all different perspectives that’s when we get the best answers and the best solutions.”

The conference, which coincided with National Mentoring Month, will be held annually as a way for iMentor to convene its partner organizations and to leverage the power of diverse learnings within the partner community. All partners have exclusive access to research, mentor training and screening materials, program analysis tools, and iMentor’s innovative technology platform. Together, iMi partners, which include 13 nonprofits in 11 states, serve 2,700 mentor-mentee pairs in their communities.

“I have been partnering with iMentor now for a year and a half, and love the opportunities for collaboration,” said conference attendee Audrey Love-Siegfried, who serves as director of recruitment and selection for Capital Partners for Education in Washington, D.C. “iMentor takes our organizations to the next level by being on the cutting edge of innovation and allowing us to be in a space where we can share resources with other high-performing organizations from across the U.S.”

Thank you to all of our iMi partners for sharing their expertise and talents, and for ensuring that this inaugural event was a success.

President Obama Recognizes iMentor at White House Summit

Posted on January 16, 2014 - 7:00pm

Today, iMentor CEO Mike O'Brien attended a White House summit where President Barack Obama spoke about iMentor’s work to ensure young people have the opportunity to succeed in college and achieve their ambitions. In a room filled with representatives from colleges and nonprofits who are leading a national effort to expand college opportunity, President Obama announced iMentor’s commitment to match 20,000 new students in more than 20 states with mentors over the next five years.

Prior to the summit, President Obama issued a call to action in advance of the summit, asking each attendee to identify concrete plans to achieve four goals: connect more low-incomes students to colleges that are right for them, increase the pool of students preparing for college through early intervention, level the playing field in college advising and test preparation, and help academically underprepared students progress through and complete college. The White House has highlighted our commitment as an effective strategy for preparing students from low-income communities for college. View an infographic about commitments from the summit, including iMentor's.

iMentor will achieve our goal by expanding our program in New York City, growing our national partnerships and replicating our direct-service program to three additional cities. Through all of these initiatives, we will match first-generation college students from low-income communities in mentoring relationships that help students nurture a college aspiration, navigate the college application process, and build critical skills that lead to college success.

With the continued help of our volunteers and high school and nonprofit partners, iMentor is excited to further realize our goal to leverage mentoring for college success for our students and schools. Our commitment is possible thanks to our generous growth funders:

Robertson Foundation
The Yellow Chair Foundation
The Samberg Family Foundation
The Bezos Family Foundation
Stephanie and Chase Coleman
The Coatue Management Foundation
iMentor Board of Directors

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