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Can mentoring be a volunteer option for you?

By Christine Pelosi posted 05-17-2022 17:07

Written by Lisa Lopez, SLA-NY Diversity Chair

Have you thought of volunteering, but not sure what your interests are or where to start? SLA-NY has many opportunities within the association that one can help with. Please take a moment to look at this link: However, this short article will focus on another option, have you considered mentoring a NYC High School student?

Rachel Hutt, Senior Recruiting Manager at iMentor, reached out to me with a proposal for volunteers.

iMentor is an education non-profit and youth mentoring program working to empower first-generation college students to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions through one-on-one mentorships. Many of iMentor’s students identify as people of color, are international students, or speak languages other than English. When students meet their mentors, it is important that they see successful working professionals who are as diverse and unique as they are. iMentor NYC has 13 high school partners located in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. Take a few minutes to look at the information below, and check out the QR code, where you’ll find more information and how to apply.

My personal experience working with high school students has been with Skadden. We had five students, who each worked one day a week, starting as 9th graders through the 12th grade. We taught students basic work in the library, and as they advanced, they were able to help out in many areas. They learned skills that are useful in other fields and we had the opportunity to mentor and guide them. Seeing them grow and blossom is rewarding! The best experience is seeing them go on to college, and continue to watch them succeed [many stayed in touch after graduating].

This opportunity with iMentor is done independently from SLA, but it can be just as rewarding. In a short conversation with Rachel, there is a structure  the program provides that makes it simple for mentors to take on volunteering duties. Rachel expressed interest in having professionals from our field to be part of this program. She also shared that anyone is welcome from all areas and would like volunteers to have at minimum a two-year college degree.

As a first generation American, coming from a Hispanic family, I had many opportunities in my school district, but none like iMentor. I did have teachers that went above and beyond their responsibilities to help me and today I’m grateful for it. I take the time to write this because experiencing this extra help first-hand, I can understand how important it is to have mentorship that many of us don’t have at home. It’s not because our families don’t want to provide professional guidance, many just don’t know how the culture here is or what steps to take to guide students. I recommend anyone who would like to consider this option to take the next step to become a mentor, share with someone who might be interested, or perhaps share with your employer.

Here’s a bit more about the program:

iMentor is starting to recruit both men and women adult volunteer mentors for NEXT school year (2022-2023). (We recruit approximately 1,400 mentors each year!)

Mentor Requirements:
• Mentors have a 2 or 4 year college degree (there are some exceptions to this rule)
• Mentors commit to writing mentee once per week and meeting once per month during the school year
• Be willing to be fingerprinted by the NYC Department of Education in-person (downtown Brooklyn)

Looking for a chance to give back and join an incredible community of volunteers?
To take the next step to becoming a mentor:

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to reach out to Rachel Hutt, Senior Recruitment Manager,
iMentor Volunteering Flyer with QR code