Since iMentor’s Online Donor Drive kicked off on March 1, more than 80 of our volunteers have created personal fundraising pages on Crowdrise.com to share their mentoring stories and encourage their networks to give to iMentor. Their goal: $60,000 to support iMentor’s programs, which are serving 2,400 students in New York City and 2,000 more across the country this year. And with less than two weeks left in the campaign, they have raised more than $50,000!
We caught up with Karen Gamarra, a mentor at Acorn Community High School and one of our top Donor Drive fundraisers this year—her first participating in the campaign. We asked what motivated her to go beyond her commitment as a mentor and rally her friends and family to support iMentor.
iMentor: What pushed you to join the Online Donor Drive for the first time this year?
Karen Gamarra: This is my third year in the iMentor program as a mentor to Khadijah, who is graduating from high school this year and who I am proud to say has been named valedictorian of her graduating class! I saw e-mails about getting involved in Donor Drive since I was first matched with Khadijah and always wanted to do it, but something always came up. I thought it would be really special to help iMentor grow so that more students like Khadijah can benefit from the program. So, this year, I made sure to make the time for it!
iMentor: How have you engaged your friends and family to donate? What have some of your fundraising methods been?
Karen Gamarra: I talk about iMentor all the time with my friends and family, and even my colleagues. So the fact that I’ve been constantly advocating for the program just by talking about it has really helped. When I sent them my fundraising page and said, “remember that thing I was telling you about?”—they did remember. I’ve even sent e-mails to people I didn’t think would make a financial contribution, just to raise awareness. I reached out to about 50 people.
iMentor: That’s great. Your methods must be working. Are you proud of how much money you’ve raised so far?
Karen Gamarra: Yes! I want to make sure I hit my goal of $2,000, and hopefully exceed it. If I can exceed my goal, I’ll be very happy. I’ve even been using Twitter to push out my Crowdrise page to my followers.
iMentor: What makes you so passionate about the work iMentor is doing to help youth from low-income communities succeed in high school and college?
Karen Gamarra: I am very passionate about investing in youth, who are the future of our society. Growing up, my parents instilled in me how important education is. They made sure they did everything they could to make sure my brother and I got to high school and got into college. Also, I’ve seen the benefits my own mentee, Khadijah, has experienced from our mentoring relationship—and I want others to have that, too.
iMentor: How is your mentee, Khadijah, doing on her path to college?
Karen Gamarra: Wonderful! She received college acceptances from five schools, and has also been awarded scholarships! I am so happy for her.
iMentor: What would you say to a mentor who wants to be involved in Donor Drive in the future but feels they don’t have the time?
Karen Gamarra: It’s really not a big time commitment at all! Instead of watching the ending of that television show, quickly create a page on Crowdrise and type up some details about your experience with your mentee. Then, once your page is up, it’s just a matter of following up with your networks via e-mail and reminding them to make a donation. And if you really don’t have time to join the campaign—you can always make a donation to your mentee’s school team on Crowdrise and support your fellow mentors!
By making a donation to the Online Donor Drive before March 31, you can support our mentors’ fundraising efforts and help a student succeed. Donate today.