What's New @ iMentor

Keep up on the latest imentor news

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.

Empire State Building in iMentor Orange!

Posted on October 28, 2014 - 1:53pm

In honor of iMentor's 15th anniversary celebration, the Empire State Building will be aglow tonight in our signature orange.

As we celebrate 15 years of partnering with public schools and providing every student with a mentor, we're also eager to look ahead. Over the next five years, iMentor will match 20,000 new students from low-income communities with mentors and replicate our program in three new cities.

We are able to continue to do this work thanks to our school partners, partner programs, supporters, mentors, and staff who work tirelessly to ensure that every public school student has an opportunity to enroll and succeed in college.

Please celebrate with us by taking a picture of the Empire State Building tonight and sharing it online with your social networks using the hashtag #iMentor15.

Esquire Magazine Spotlights iMentor

Posted on September 18, 2014 - 11:57am

This week, Esquire magazine announced the launch of a multiplatform mentoring initiative, with a goal of recruiting 100,000 new mentors to break the cycle of failure impacting the lives of American boys.

In its October issue, which is on stands now, the men’s international lifestyle publication identifies iMentor as one of 89 Esquire-vetted organizations that is leveraging the power of mentoring to change lives.

Esquire first reported on some of the issues facing young men eight years ago in a feature, “The Problem With Boys,” and it has continued to be a focus for the magazine. Much of the findings from that initial research are disturbing at best. If you are a boy in America, for example, you are:

  • Three times as likely as a girl to be diagnosed with an attention-deficit or learning disorder and twice as likely to be on medication for it.
  • More likely to be held back in high school and more likely to drop out of high school than girls.
  • Less likely to go to college and less likely to graduate from college than girls.
  • Twice as likely to abuse alcohol, and until you are 24, five times as likely to kill yourself.
  • Eleven times as likely to go to prison.

The magazine also launched a custom-built interactive microsite that features celebrity interviews and allows users to share videos about the mentors in their lives. Esquire is hoping to inspire its readers to take a more active role in the creation of the next generation of male mentors.

"Esquire’s October issue is a huge call to action, especially as iMentor looks to recruit 400 more men this year so we can match all of the young men in our program with a mentor,” said iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien.

“When a young man is provided with individualized, one-on-one support, it means he has a champion. It means he has someone who believes in him, who will help him nurture a college aspiration and get him excited about his future. iMentor is fundamentally reimagining how we can leverage the community to ensure that this kind of support is a part of what it means to go to school in New York City. Our whole-school partnership means every student in a school is matched with a mentor, and that sets the groundwork for real and lasting change to occur."

Morgan Stanley Gives Tech-Savvy iMentor Students Real-World Experience

Posted on September 10, 2014 - 10:31am
A group of tech-savvy iMentor students spent six weeks at Morgan Stanley during a summer internship.

It was back to school last week for public schools in New York City, but for a group of iMentor students with coding and web design chops, this summer offered a chance to put their tech skills to good use.

During a six-week paid internship at Morgan Stanley, 9th and 10th graders from the Academy for Software Engineering in Manhattan designed web pages, crunched data, and learned how to support digital platforms and applications.

“It was challenging work, especially the coding part,” said 15-year-old Alston Chau. “But my manager was cool. I could ask him anything.”

This is the second consecutive year that Morgan Stanley has employed iMentor students over the summer break. The internships are designed to offer project-based experience to young people interested in pursuing careers in the tech industry. At the end of the internship, Morgan Stanley hosted a showcase in which each iMentor student gave a brief presentation about their work.

Calling Future MENtors!

Posted on August 13, 2014 - 5:08pm

Next month, a group of new students will start the school year and, soon after, meet their mentors for the first time. In order to match all of the students in our program with a compassionate mentor, we need to recruit 700 men.

This year, six out of 10 iMentor students will be male, but only four of 10 mentor applicants will be men. Help us make sure that all of the boys in our program get a mentor this fall by signing up today or nominating someone you know would make a great mentor.

Mentors make a difference, but you don't have to take our word for it. Check out this audio slideshow to hear iMentor student Danny read the candid letter he wrote to his mentor, Joe, before heading to college.

Help make college possible for one amazing student.

First Lady Michelle Obama Selects iMentor Student for Reach Higher Initiative

Posted on July 11, 2014 - 11:39am

iMentor student Anthony Mendez was one of 10 students handpicked by First Lady Michelle Obama to join a roundtable discussion on Tuesday about overcoming obstacles to remain on the path to college. With his mentor Jack Roberts by his side, Anthony traveled to the White House. Below is a recap of his trip in his own words:

Connecting with those nine other kids, who had totally different backgrounds and faced different hardships and obstacles, made me feel like I had known them my entire life. I really felt connected and felt like I had done so much more than just visit the White House. I created a family with a group of amazing kids who have accomplished what many thought we wouldn’t.

They made me realize that when you open up and let yourself be vulnerable, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak, but human. I learned that President Obama and the First Lady have faced their own demons, but pushed passed those barriers without needing anybody’s approval.

Everybody at the table with the First Lady faced their struggles in unique ways, but what we all had in common was that we know we can’t be successful without somebody who believes in you. That’s who Jack is for me. That’s what my family is for me.

I’ll never forget Darius, who was one of the kids at the table from the South Side of Chicago. He looked completely different from me and speaks in a whole other accent, but he had a similar experience as I did. I got to see that no matter where you come from, you will always be a product of your environment, but it takes a strong mindset to see and realize that even if society doesn’t believe in you, you have control over your life. Only you can take steps toward reaching your higher purpose.

By surrounding ourselves with people who want us to do better, we can all be destined for greatness. Society does not define us; we define us. And if we accept change, take risks, and allow ourselves to open up to others, amazing things will happen, like meeting the First Lady. Mrs. Obama helped me realize that we should all be proud of our past and not hide it, because our stories are powerful and can inspire a generation to be great and do better. 

This whole experience is something nobody can take away from me. All of us will remember this day, and remember having the First Lady know our names and talk to us as if she had known us forever. She is such an amazing woman. I’ll never forget her calling me “my Anthony” and giving me a hug before telling me that it was a privilege to hear my story.

Plus, I saved my name tag.

Click here to see the full photo gallery.

The 2014 iMentor Extravaganza

Posted on June 19, 2014 - 5:06pm

A record 900 mentors and mentees joined us for the 2014 iMentor Extravaganza in Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza! 

We were thrilled to see such a big crowd there to celebrate the academic and personal successes our mentees have achieved with the help of their mentors.

This annual event kicked off with face-painting, a photo booth, catered lunch from Panera Bread, and a DJ playing popular tunes.

See you next year! Click here to view more photos from this year's event.

iMentor's 2014 Spring Benefit Produces Record Turnout

Posted on June 13, 2014 - 5:34pm

Last night, 500 guests attended iMentor's 2014 Spring Benefit, the largest turnout ever for this yearly fundraiser!

Held at the hip Bowery Hotel in Manhattan, the Spring Benefit celebrates the power of mentoring to improve college outcomes for students from low-income communities. Mentors, friends, and advocates came together for an evening of fun in support of a good cause.

Sponsored by Sungard, Nielsen, Egon Zehnder, and Bloomingdales, the event featured signature cocktails by Hendrick's Gin, Glenfiddich, and Reyka Vodka. Brooklyn Brewery provided craft beer, and delicious red and white wines were stocked by Wines of Argentina.

Guests were also treated to DJ entertainment by Vikas Sapra; a lively silent auction; and tasty treats from Champignon, Veri Chic Cakes, Lucy's Cantina Royal, and Thomas Preti Events.

“All evening, I was surrounded by ambitious and lively people who were excited to celebrate iMentor’s purpose,” said Renu Grover, a member of iMentor’s Young Executive Board and the Spring Benefit Host Committee. “Together we made an unforgettable memory of an evening I wish lasted forever.”

iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien capped off the night with a special appeal to guests, asking for their help in recruiting more volunteer mentors before the start of the school year. To match all the students in our partner schools by September, iMentor needs to recruit 1,200 new mentors, including 900 men. Click here to become a mentor.

"It is always so exciting to see so many proud mentors bringing their friends and talking up the mentoring experience," said Amanda D'Avria, iMentor's director of volunteers. "We hope that all of the non-mentors in attendance become mentors for us this year—especially the gentlemen!" Click here to see our full gallery.

Click here to see photos from the Bosco booth.

Guidance From Citi Mentor Helps Mentee Get Accepted into 1st Choice School

Posted on June 10, 2014 - 10:44am
Eric Berger, a Senior Vice President in Human Resources at Citigroup, and his mentee, Tyler.

For Tyler, a quiet senior at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn, opening up to new people doesn’t come naturally. That’s why his mentor Eric Berger finds iMentor’s program, which facilitates email communication through a custom platform, so valuable.

“Tyler is an introvert, but he’s very expressive, thoughtful, and self-reflective via email,” Eric explains. “He opens up quite a bit due to the online structure of the program, and iMentor’s program requires mentors to open up as well.”

Eric, a Senior Vice President in Human Resources at Citigroup, was matched with Tyler in October 2012 in iMentor’s College Transition program. Over the past 18 months, the pair has progressed from celebrating shared interests (they both have a penchant for music and the arts) to establishing levels of trust, enthusiasm, and commitment, which are key to a successful mentoring relationship.

Eric is one of about 100 volunteer mentors from Citi, which last week announced a $1 million investment in iMentor through the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million commitment to connect 100,000 low-income youth in the United States to economic opportunity through the development of workplace skills and leadership experience. As part of the grant award, Citi has pledged to substantially increase its number of employee mentors over the next two years.

Over the course of their mentoring relationships, iMentor pairs engage in a robust program model that includes financial literacy events and college and career exploration programs. Those were particularly relevant to Tyler, who knew he wanted to go to college but didn’t know how to get there—especially how to pay for it. Thankfully, Eric was there to guide him.

With Eric’s support and know-how, Tyler was able to navigate financial aid options, complete the FAFSA application, and create a plan for applying to his first job on campus. They met often to perfect Tyler’s resume and to rehearse mock interview questions.

Tyler, who is the youngest of five, will be the first in his family to go to college and is planning to enroll this fall at St. John’s University—with a generous scholarship from the university in hand. “Tyler sees college as an investment in himself,” Eric says, “and I couldn’t agree more.”

Eric attributes their success not just to the weekly emails, monthly in-person events, and college success curriculum but to the high-touch, personalized support that iMentor staff provides to each of its pairs.

“I’ve volunteered with a number of organizations in the past,” Eric said, “and I’ve never been more supported as a volunteer than I am with iMentor. I had all the support to pick up Tyler mid-stream [in his high school career] and really hit the ground running."

iMentor's Unveils New Shareables Page

Posted on May 30, 2014 - 3:17pm

This week, iMentor launched our visually dynamic Shareables page. This new feature hosts some of our favorite share-worthy content in one easy-to-navigate place.

And we’ve made it simple to post videos, infographics, and images to the social media network of your choice. Here’s how:

Choose the item you want to share
• Select the appropriate social media icon
• Then click post

Click here to begin sharing content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and then encourage your friends to apply to be a mentor today!

Workplace Fun at iMentor

Posted on May 9, 2014 - 2:39pm

It’s 4:15 p.m., and everyone begins to make their way to the gong. Yep, we have one. It is a simple but powerful way we celebrate our successes—big and small.

Whether we’re welcoming a new hire or acknowledging the hard work and achievements of our staff, convening in Gongtown is how we come together here at iMentor.

We value moments like these. So much that we’ve created “Team Fun,” a group of staff members from across departments who develop opportunities to engage the team and drive our culture.

At iMentor, we strive to connect our organizational values of excellence, joy, educational opportunity, power of relationships, human potential, and collaboration to our day-to-day work. That goes for everyone—from our interns to senior leaders.

Every year, we continue annual traditions, such as our Halloween Showdown, Thanksgiving Potluck, and Holiday Talent Show, as well as introduce a few new ones. Some of the newer ones we’ve added to our roster are:

  • Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Because we’re all about developing professional networks early.
  • Dip Day. Because nothing embodies the power of relationships like the relationship between dips and chips.
  • Day of Service. A chance for us to serve the communities that are still in need after Hurricane Sandy.
  • “May” You Be Well Month. A series of health and wellness events, including a smoothie break session, yoga class, and a nutrition workshop.

As our organization expands, we hope to continue growing our culture by creating and sustaining organizational traditions, making space within iMentor’s ambitious, results-oriented work environment for de-stressing, while encouraging informal community building. Because what’s work without a little bit of fun?

Think you have a tradition we need to hear about? Want to see the gong for yourself? Ready to join the team? Take a look at our career opportunities here.

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