A Seasoned Volunteer Still Finds Pleasant Surprises in Mentoring
Mentor of the Month
Ryan Cunn, an Associate at Deutsche Bank, Inc., has volunteered with iMentor for nearly four years. He has mentored three students through the process of taking the SAT, applying to college, and making the college transition. Even with all this experience, he says that his relationship with 18-year-old Amadou, who recently graduated from the International High School at Lafayette, has exceeded his expectations.
Amadou arrived in the U.S. six years ago from Guinea, Africa. He was matched with Ryan during his junior year of high school and ready to work hard to get to college. “His success in the iMentor program is strictly a testament to his drive,” said Ryan.
With iMentor’s college readiness curriculum guiding each of their one-on-one meetings, the pair worked on SAT and Regents prep, discussed topics for Amadou’s college essays, and talked through the financial aspects of college—and didn’t stop there. They also began meeting regularly on weekends, in addition to the once-a-month meeting requirement of iMentor’s program, to go through practice tests and improve Amadou’s study habits.
“He would come with an agenda saying ‘this is what I want to get done today’,” said Ryan. “He was incredibly committed and didn’t want to waste any time. Then, he’d get home and give me a call later on that night to ask a question or tell me about how something clicked for him,” Ryan added. “It became the two of us going back and forth to make sure he was achieving his goal of getting into college.”
At the end of their two-year match, the pair has a lot to celebrate. Amadou was accepted to six CUNY schools and plans to major in business and finance. He is also pursuing his passion for film in his free time, an interest that Ryan encourages wholeheartedly.
Grateful for the guidance he received during his formative years, Ryan says he decided to mentor because he wanted to offer structured academic support to students to help them reach their goals. He didn’t know he would get back so much in return.
“I learned more from Amadou than he learned from me,” said Ryan. “You sign up and show up and you think it’s going to be impactful in this person’s life—and then it has that effect on your own life.”