iMentor Blog

Nicole Griffith named first Ernst & Young Mentor of the Year

Posted on September 14, 2012 - 9:15am

Nicole Griffith, a lead recruiter for the Financial Services Office of Ernst & Young LLP, received the first Ernst and Young Mentor of the Year Award at the second annual Mentor’s Champions Golf Challenge held Sunday, Sept. 9 at Friar’s Head Golf Club in Riverhead, L.I.

Nicole has mentored New York City high school students through iMentor since 2001 — but her commitment to mentoring extends back to her days as a college student at Cornell and into all aspects of her life. Whether she is helping new members of her team at Ernst & Young adapt to life at the firm, reaching out to minority high school students through the Cornell Alumni Ambassador Network or helping her mentees become college-ready, Nicole believes that creating a strong personal connection is one of the ways she can make a difference.

In addition to contributing her time as a mentor, Nicole also uses her professional skills to expand the reach of iMentor’s programming within the New York community and within Ernst & Young. As a member of the iMentor Women’s Committee, Nicole extends her involvement with iMentor beyond mentoring and is able to build on her prior experience with the iMentor Young Executive Board (2003–08). And she teams with the Community Engagement Leaders at Ernst & Young LLP’s New York office to raise the profile of iMentor at the firm and to recruit new volunteers.

Nicole shares her thoughts on mentoring below:

Q. Why are you a mentor?

A. There are so many reasons, but I think the most important one is that I appreciate the people who have helped me along the way, and I want to give others the same opportunities I had. For me, mentoring is about setting up people for success. And I absolutely love watching the young people I mentor open up to the world of possibilities and begin creating an education and career path that is right for them.

Q. With work and other obligations, how do you make time for mentoring?

A. I have to give credit to iMentor for making it easy. First, iMentor builds deep partnerships with public high schools in New York City, enrolling every single student at their partner schools into a mentoring relationship. This helps me as a mentor because I know I’m part of a broader community that values what I’m doing. Second, the iMentor model is very flexible; iMentor combines monthly face-to-face meetings with ongoing email communication, so I’m able to connect with my student in a way that works for both our schedules. Third, iMentor brings me a really robust set of tools to support me as a mentor — everything from ideas on how to build a personal relationship to tools that support college exploration and preparation.

Q. What role can mentors play in helping youth become college-ready?

A. Getting ready for college can be daunting, especially if a student is the first person in his or her family to pursue that path. Mentors can help students understand the different options — community college, four-year college, etc. — and research majors and degree programs. They can work with the student to develop a plan for tackling the application process. They can provide coaching on things we may take for granted: how to dress for an interview, questions to ask, how to follow up with a thank-you note. Most importantly, they can provide the mentee with encouragement and be a role model.

Q. How does mentoring benefit the mentor?

A. A key to personal and professional success is a person’s ability to build and grow authentic relationships. As a mentor, you connect with a young person who may look different from you or may live in a neighborhood that you’ve never visited. He or she probably has a very different relationship to technology. Your relationship with your mentee can make you a more inclusive leader, and that’s important for all aspects of your life.

Article originally appeared on 3blmedia.com.

Summer Events Round-Up

Posted on September 4, 2012 - 2:40pm

Though mentors and mentees aren’t required to meet at the iMentor office when school is out, iMentor made it possible for them to participate in fun, free summer activities this year by encouraging them to attend in iMentor-identified events in New York City.

In early July, female pairs met at Etsy Labs in Brooklyn to sew and design their very own drawstring grocery bags. Throughout the summer, pairs traveled to various cultural landmarks such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Bronx Zoo, the Brooklyn Museum and the New York Aquarium on pay-what-you-wish admission days, where they were greeted by iMentor program coordinators. On these days, pairs were free to leave the larger group and structure their own afternoons.

To close the summer, mentees who recently graduated from high school visited with their mentors for the last time before starting college on Manhattan’s West Side. They walked The High Line, a public park built on an historic, elevated freight rail line, and chatted about the exciting changes ahead.  

As the new school year begins, we wish continued success to our high school mentees as well as our mentees who are beginning their college careers! We hope you all had a fun and restful summer. 

iMentor needs your help finding 200 more great male mentors! Our new mentees will start school in just a few weeks and by signing up and spreading the word, you can help us ensure they’ll have the support they need to get off to a great start. Sign up to become a mentor by September 15! http://www.imentor.org/become-a-mentor

iMentor Featured with Top National Nonprofits as Part of the New Reddit Donate Campaign

Posted on August 27, 2012 - 12:15pm

iMentor is thrilled to be featured along with top nonprofits across the country on Reddit, as part of the RedditDonate campaign launching today. The popular social news aggregator has made it possible for millions of people to share and exchange the information they are most passionate about. Now, Reddit community members can donate directly to the nonprofit organizations whose work they believe in. Two pages on Reddit, r/finance and r/mentors, have adopted iMentor as their cause and are featuring a donate button for our organization (find it on the right side of the page).

By clicking the donate button for iMentor on these pages, you can make a contribution that will help us achieve our mission of ensuring that more students from low-income communities have the tools and guidance they need to graduate high school college-ready and succeed as college students.

Through our involvement with this campaign, we’re building our community of supporters and connecting to more people who are interested in raising awareness about the critical need of young people as they embark on their path to college. To learn more about RedditDonate, read Reddit’s blog introducing the campaign.

Join the Reddit community in supporting iMentor by giving today through the Reddit Donate campaign, and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter using @redditdonate and #give!

A Seasoned Volunteer Still Finds Pleasant Surprises in Mentoring

Posted on August 24, 2012 - 11:07am

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.” 

Mentors Get Ready for the New School Year at Workshop Event

Posted on August 20, 2012 - 12:00pm

Last week, mentors in our New York City program gathered for a workshop event held at iMentor’s office in downtown New York. One of the many support opportunities available to our mentors, this event provided veteran volunteers returning to our program with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences from previous years and create action plans to enhance the quality of their relationships.

After a warm welcome from our CEO, Mike O’Brien, mentors broke into small groups focused on a specific aspect of the mentoring relationship, such as relationship building, getting ready for college, and supporting students through academic or personal struggles.

To guide their group work, mentors received a worksheet with questions aimed at helping them identify areas for improvement in their matches and set goals for the upcoming academic year. Mentors also received information about high school graduation requirements in New York City—a way to help them gauge whether their mentees are on track to graduate—as well as other helpful print and online resources.

At the end of the evening, iMentor program coordinators facilitated a group discussion to give mentors the chance to share helpful insights with one another. And for more focused one-on-one support, mentors were able to troubleshoot their specific concerns with a program coordinator.

Do you want to help improve the life of a high school student through a supported, one-on-one mentoring relationship? Sign up to become a mentor today.

Welcoming 18 New Staff and Gearing Up for the Year Ahead at All-Staff Orientation

Posted on August 15, 2012 - 3:12pm

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.

iMentor Because

Posted on July 27, 2012 - 6:14pm

In this video, some of our volunteers talk about why they signed up to mentor youth in low-income communities and how rewarding it’s been to watch their mentees progress on their paths to college. These volunteers are motivated to mentor by many reasons -- because they had a mentor, because they wish they'd had more guidance as a young person, or because they want to feel connected to their community. You can join them by signing up to become a mentor today.

This Fall, iMentor will expand its programs to reach more young people throughout New York City. Share this video to help us recruit more mentors for the hundreds of students we’re enrolling by September 1. 

Mentor Helps Mentee Choose the Right College

Posted on July 17, 2012 - 4:49pm
College-bound Jeremiah with his mentor, Jose, on his high school graduation day.

Mentor of the Month

When graduating senior Jeremiah received a number of college acceptance letters this spring, he wasn't sure which way to go—so he turned to his mentor, Jose Morales, for advice. The pair had worked hard together to track down funding opportunities for Jeremiah's college degree.

“I didn’t know about the financial part of applying to school—that was something new to me,” said Jeremiah, who walked across the stage last month to receive his high school diploma from Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports. “My mentor motivated me and told me not to lose focus.”

The teen decided to attend Long Island University (LIU) through a state-funded program that offers educational support and financial assistance to students who qualify at select independent colleges. At LIU, the program covers the full cost of tuition and fees for all four years.

Jeremiah’s college decision came down to the financial aid package from LIU and one from another school that would have required a $24,000 a year loan.

“He had to grapple with not just the fact that he had some options but also how to pick the best balance between all of his options,” said Morales, who heard about the opportunity to become a mentor through his employer Morgan Stanley’s corporate partnership with iMentor. The mentor’s dedication earned him the title of “Mentor of the Month” for July—a designation we reserve for particularly notable mentors. 

“I helped him lay out the facts in an organized fashion so he could make a decision and own that decision at the end of the day,” said Morales.

Jeremiah is interested in several potential career paths and excited about the opportunity to investigate each when he arrives at school. “I’m actually very good at calculus so I might major in civil engineering,” he said. “But I also think about a more creative route, like journalism.”

Morales is beaming with pride and thinks Jeremiah’s initiative will take him far. “He took advantage of the resources available to him and I was impressed by that,” said Morales. “He’ll face struggles and grow along the way, like we all do, and find himself through it.”

Graduation Snapshots

Posted on July 13, 2012 - 9:41am

This spring, students at 8 of our partner high schools in New York City experienced the thrill of high school graduation—with their mentors in the audience to cheer them on. Hear reflections from some of our mentors and mentees about what it has meant to them to work toward this important milestone, and what they hope for the future of their relationships as the students transition to college.

We join all of our mentors in congratulating the iMentor students who are graduating this year and going on to college.

Do you want to help a student graduate high school college-ready and succeed in college? Sign up to become a mentor today.

Take the Mentor Pledge

Posted on July 11, 2012 - 4:52pm

I pledge to stand with youth in low-income communities as they achieve their college dreams.

Before the school year starts, our mentors and supporters are pledging to help more high school students from low-income communities graduate high school college-ready and succeed in college. But you don’t have to be a mentor to get involved. Anyone can join our community of support by taking the Mentor Pledge.

Want to get involved? Visit our Mentor Pledge campaign page to share the Pledge message with your friends on Facebook. With just one click, you can help spread awareness about the needs of our students and how mentoring can make a difference. We’re trying to get as many people as possible to take the pledge by September 1! The more people who take the pledge, the more who will be inspired to become mentors this school year!

The Mentor Pledge will help raise awareness about an urgent need facing students. On average, for every 100 students from low-income communities who start high school, only 61 will graduate, 33 will enroll in college, and 21 will earn a college degree. To help ensure more students have the individual support they need to get to college and succeed once they’re there, our mentors provide individualized support to students as they build college readiness skills and apply.

Show your support for our students and the work of our mentors by taking the Mentor Pledge now: http://www.imentor.org/mentor-pledge. You can help ensure that more students have the opportunity to discover their full potential and build bright futures. 

30 Broad Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10004 T 212.461.4330 F 212.461.4331         Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use  |  Contact Us

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Loading