We are excited to have chosen iMentor as the second charitable organization that we will represent at the MacroMinds event in 2021. iMentor has a fantastic model in which students are matched with a mentor who has volunteered his or her time to provide guidance to a student through the high school years. The results are truly exceptional.
Many of the 10,000 young people iMentor supports are facing new and pronounced challenges this year. Many are facing multiple challenges simultaneously. All of the young people we serve are striving to continue to pursue their ambitions amid incredible uncertainty. Through the loss of loved ones due to the pandemic, navigating a remote schooling environment, increased economic anxiety, and the trauma that from continuous acts of racial violence and police brutality, our students persevere. It is iMentor’s responsibility and our great honor to stand alongside them in this moment. Our mentors are ready to work alongside our students during this critical year as they graduate high school and work towards their post-secondary ambitions. Our students deserve the best supports possible to navigate this moment.
Below, are highlights from this work over the past several months, some challenges our teams have faced, and how iMentor has begun this school year strong:
- In this moment, relationships matter. When challenges are at their most complex, institutions are in a state of disruption, and the future is fluid and uncertain, a sense of connection is necessary for persisting in pursuit of your ambitions. The relationships we build have the incredible ability to respond to the complexities of our students’ experiences. The years in and after high school define the trajectories of all young people, and the stakes have never been higher.
- In many ways, iMentor was made for this moment. We have harnessed 20+ years of fostering meaningful connections and building relationships through technology that enable us to be effective in a virtual environment.
- But we faced a steep challenge this summer. We needed to rapidly redesign our program to ensure we could be responsive to a remote schooling environment and the new challenges this year would bring. We moved all core program functionality to our iMentor mobile app and redeployed our program events and mentor recruitment virtually across all our regions.
- Our thoughtful response to the unique demands of this moment and the hard work of our volunteers and staff have resulted in strong support of our students. Over the summer we saw a 30% increase in student advising sessions, we hosted 450 students who just graduated high school in our Summer Institute, and we dramatically increased parent outreach through phone banking. For the fall, we implemented trauma-informed curricula and built new partnerships resources to support students’ emotional well-being. We also created and began facilitating social justice-focused mentor trainings—670 mentors attended the first week of trainings—and re-launched Racial Justice Monthly Learning Moments for our mentor community as part of the Mentor Education Program.
We will continue to listen to what our students and school partners tell us they need to be successful in this moment and then do everything we can to support them.