Mentors of the Month for July – Kavan Brandon and Bernier Lauredan
What makes Kavan Brandon and Bernier Lauredan our Mentors of the Month? They are: INSPIRING AND TEAM PLAYERS.
Kavan Brandon and Bernier Lauredan both know what it takes to make a difference in their mentees’ lives. They also know the benefits of teamwork; they have utilized their friendship to make a greater impact on their mentees.
Kavan and Bernier are a unique pair of mentors because they have been friends since college. Bernier heard about iMentor through another college friend’s Facebook status and then, after completing mentor training, recruited Kavan. As Bernier remembers, “Anytime there is an opportunity to give back, I try to go to [Kavan] first. We have both always been very involved with volunteering in college and he knows I’m the same way. Anytime we find out about how we can be involved, we try to.”
Since joining iMentor, they have really enjoyed their experience with their mentees. “Even though we have different mentees,” Kavan explains, “we often ask each other about our mentoring relationships. We check on whether we’ve been connecting and any funny things that have come up in conversations. . . . We bounce ideas off of each other and discuss how we should approach situations. It’s helped our relationship with our mentees because we’ve been able to involve one another.”
In both of their relationships, Kavan and Bernier are prime examples of what it means to be dedicated and inspiring for their mentees. Bernier remembers his first meeting with Jose, “Beforehand, I was nervous about how it would go and how the conversation would progress. In general, Jose is a very quiet person, which I didn’t know at first. But when we did the discussion topics with the curriculum . . . I realized it was part of his nature and it ended up being totally fine!”
Kavan also had a great first meeting, “Our first meeting was at Aneury’s school. [Because of iMentor’s email curriculum] we had previously exchanged emails a couple of times and I already knew he was interested in soccer. We met in the cafeteria and immediately started talking about his family and where he was from. I also cracked a few jokes with him as well. We bonded and the momentum allowed us to get to know each other better. I walked away feeling excited about what the year would bring.”
When asked about their most rewarding experience with their mentees, both provided moving examples. For Bernier, it was hearing Jose reflect on the great year they’d had and him thanking Bernier for being his mentor. Bernier further elaborates, “It was good to know that I made such a difference in only our first year of the match and I can’t wait to continue this year!” From Kavan’s perspective, it was realizing how much Aneury reminded him of his own adolescence and the positive impact he was having by sharing his personal experiences.
Ultimately, Kavan and Bernier’s friendship enriched their experience with their mentees and with one another. It sheds light on the benefit of having someone you know and trust in the program. Put simply by Bernier, “It’s been really great having a friend in the program. It’s really helpful to have someone to provide that insider perspective. When you know someone in the program, it resounds much better. That’s the best method in recruiting.”
We all have a friend that is supportive and consistent in our own lives – these are important ingredients to being a great mentor. Share your stories and get a friend to sign up. With your help, we can change the lives of New York City’s underserved youth for the better.
Inspired by their story? Visit iMentor.org and Become a Mentor Today!