Wi-Mentor Unites Youth Interested in Medicine with Healthcare Professionals
Dr. Frank Scifo, a well-known local physician in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a veteran to Wi-mentor, an iMentor Interactive partner program. Dr. Scifo has been a mentor with the program for three years, and was recently inspired to renew his commitment to the program after a remarkable year with his mentee throughout the 2011-2012 school year.
In 2011, Dr. Scifo was matched with Gerald, a student at Wi-mentor’s newest partner school, Central High School, in Bridgeport. Wi-mentor partnered with iMentor in 2007 to implement a mentoring program to help underserved high school students prepare for and succeed in college and beyond. iMentor provides Wi-mentor with curricula, technology tools, and consulting so they can implement their own effective mentoring program in the iMentor model in Coastal Fairfield County.
Students at Central participate in the Wi-mentor program as part of their Medical Careers class. Central’s Medical Careers teacher, Cathy Chimini, thought an in-person and online mentoring program would be an innovative way to link her students with professionals working in the medical field, which her students also aspire to work in. Dr. Scifo, who works at Saint Vincent’s Medical Center, had volunteered in the Wi-mentor program before, but was excited about the new opportunity to mentor a student who shared an interest in the medical field.
Dr. Scifo and Gerald hit it off instantly. Gerald, a senior, had his mind set on becoming a nurse, just like his mother. Meeting and working with Dr. Scifo only made Gerald’s desire to join the healthcare arena that much more great, as Gerald was able to hear first-hand accounts of Dr. Scifo’s experiences in medicine and ask questions about the field. And Dr. Scifo’s experience with Gerald was just as rewarding. Through in-depth weekly emails, the pair discussed everything from school to their personal lives, and Dr. Scifo suggested different paths Gerald could take in the nursing profession and encouraged him to stay motivated through his college application process. Over the course of the year together, the pair developed a mutual respect for each other and also had a lot of fun.
Dr. Scifo, the host of a local radio show, Health Talk, about news in healthcare, invited Gerald to be a guest on his show. Gerald was very nervous at first, but Dr. Scifo helped put those nerves at ease and by the end of the show, Gerald was a natural. The pair talked about their relationship, their experiences, and the Wi-mentor program. The show was a great public speaking opportunity for Gerald, and the pair also had a chance to share information about Wi-mentor with the community.
As a result of their hard work together, in June, Gerald and Dr. Scifo won the Wi-mentor Match of the Year award at the End of Year Banquet. Gerald has since moved onto Northeastern University in Boston and is doing very well in his freshman year of college. Due to the positive year with Gerald, Dr. Scifo signed up to be matched with another student this year at Central and is continuing to impact the lives of youth in Coastal Fairfield County.