The journey from high school to college and into the workforce is full of unexpected twists. With the help of iMentor, students and young adults no longer have to navigate these tricky roads alone.
iMentor is a national non-profit organization that connects and empowers young people through mentors. iMentor matches all students from a partner school with a mentor. The program starts when the student is in 11º grade and continues for two years after high school graduation.
The NBA Foundation, the league’s first charitable foundation dedicated to generating economic opportunity for young black people, chose iMentor as one of its beneficiaries.
“Our goal is to build mentoring relationships that empower first-generation college students to pursue their dream college,” said iMentor External Director Celine Patel. “We actually have a program manager who is not a staff member who is in school and teaches about careers, financial education, curriculum building, everything we know a student needs to pursue a meaningful career, which is our ultimate goal. . What’s powerful about this is that they’re learning in the classroom and they’re actually learning in action from their mentor.”
Students meet with their mentors every week online and once a month in person. The student and mentor can continue their relationship if they wish until college graduation.
“We know that mentors can open doors for young people with their experience, knowledge and guidance,” said Katie Longofono, associate director of national development at iMentor. “The mentors are the cheerleaders and they are there to defend the students.”
iMentor, which opened its doors in 1999, has served over 38,000 students across the country with Mentors. iMentor serves students in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Chicago and New York.
Thanks to the partnership with the NBA Foundation, iMentor was able to launch numerous new initiatives.
“It’s been an incredible partnership with the NBA Foundation,” said Longofono. “We built our partnership with the NBA at a time when we were thinking carefully about how to help students think more about their careers. We have realized in the last couple of years that you need to balance college and career. You can help someone get to college, but they may not know what they want to do. Or, they may not know what a meaningful career looks like and how their education can directly connect to their career. The NBA is supporting many of our workshops on how to interview, write a resume, update your LinkedIn, build your personal brand and apply for jobs.”
High school, college and choosing a career are major milestones and transition points in a student’s life. iMentor exists to make a difference.
“We are proud to support iMentor’s work in building powerful mentoring relationships for young people of color across the country,” said NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor. “The effectiveness of the iMentor model of giving young people the tools to enroll and succeed in college is inspiring and we look forward to expanding their work.”
Click here to learn more about iMentor and volunteering.