Last week, iMentor staff members gathered at New York University’s Wasserman Center for our annual All-staff Orientation. For two days, iMentor staff discussed our goals for the upcoming school year and years to come and also got to know one another better.
Eighteen new staff members joined us for the first time at this orientation—and what says “welcome!” better than requesting that they share a quirky fact about themselves in a roomful of new people? To kick-off our first session, senior volunteer coordinator Amanda Neel had all staffers form a large circle, introduce themselves and name their favorite orange item (which happens to be iMentor’s favorite color).
Our work kicked off when we heard from senior staff who shared details about our organization’s ambitious goals for this school year and the next five years. This year alone, iMentor will serve 2,400 students in New York City and help 15 organizations across the country implement their own mentoring programs. Our whole staff will be working together to provide the resources, tools, and expertise to ensure each of these mentoring matches helps students reach their college goals.
We also gave the floor to four mentors in our New York City program whose lives have changed in surprising ways since signing up to mentor. As part of a panel discussion, program managers Victoria Lowe and Elizabeth Kennedy fielded questions to each volunteer about their experiences. Quinton Mudd, an accountant at Forest City Ratner Companies, said his mentee, Ismael, didn’t think college was a possibility when they first met—now, “he knows it’s a necessity.” Jeanette Park, content director at marcussamuelsson.com and seasoned editor, said she was happy to be matched with Shineil, a young aspiring journalist—it allowed her to lend her expertise to the teen’s college application process. And she even got something unexpected in return. “Joining iMentor showed me I want to pursue another avenue in my career. I’m now working toward a degree in applied psychology.”
And those weren’t our only special guests. Three of our board members—DonorsChoose.org’s founder and CEO Charles Best, the Children’s Aid Society’s president and CEO Richard Buery, and the Blue Ridge Foundation’s executive director Matt Klein—added to the conversation. They shared how they first got involved with iMentor, how their organizations are making a difference in the lives of young people, and the lessons they’ve learned over the years.
Even with a busy schedule of panel discussions, presentations, and group work, we found time to put on skits, play games, and even compete in our annual iMentor Olympics. Now, after a great week, the whole iMentor staff is ready to take on another exciting program year.
Want to be part of the iMentor team? Check out our job openings at www.imentor.org/jobs.