Blog Post

Calling All Mentors: Be a SuperConnector and Refer a Mentor

As we launch our #SuperConnector campaign to recruit a new class of mentors this month, we talk to several mentors about what inspired them to tap into their own networks for future mentors. This month, be sure to refer a friend, colleague, or relative to volunteer as a mentor, and help us get more students on the path to college!

SuperConnector: Paul Westman

A mentor to Daniel in the North-Grand High School Class of 2020 in Chicago, Paul asked Francisco, a good friend who is also a co-worker and kickball teammate, to become a mentor. Francisco is now a mentor to Brando, who is also a junior at the same school.

Paul Westman and his mentee Daniel
From left: Paul Westman and his mentee Daniel

What makes Francisco a great mentor? 

Fran is one of the most positive and energetic people I have ever met! There is no such thing as a bad day for Fran. He absolutely loves everyone he encounters and is welcoming to all. I knew right away that he would make an amazing mentor because any teenager would immediately feel secure and accepted with him right from the get-go, no matter what his or her background was. Fran is extremely relatable and can find the fun in any scenario, which is very valuable when trying to form a relationship with teenagers who may feel hesitant about opening up to their mentors at first.

What inspired you to share the joy of mentoring with others?

Once I heard that it can sometimes be more challenging to find enough male mentors to meet the need, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to contribute to the organization by bringing in someone who I knew would be an amazing fit. It was a win-win scenario for me because I knew Fran would be great in iMentor, and I also got to have a friend join me for all the transportation, in-school events, and excursions.

How has this shared experience changed your own mentoring?

Having Fran as a mentor alongside me has really added to my overall experience in the program. We both are able to bounce ideas off of each other and share successes and challenges, which makes the process easier and more collaborative. Fran and I are even planning on doing a “group outing” with both of our mentees and any other pairs that are interested in joining. Referring a friend to the program has completely transformed my experience for the better, and, as a result, I believe I am a better mentor to my mentee. I would highly recommend referring a friend or colleague to everyone in the program!

SuperConnector: Anne Truong

Anne, a mentor to Allison, a senior at Union Square Academy for Health Sciences in New York City, shared her iMentor experience with Vaughn, a patient in her dental practice. Vaughn is now a mentor to Nicholas, a junior at the Academy for Software Engineering.

Anne Truong and fellow mentor Vaughn
From left: Anne Truong and fellow mentor Vaughn

What makes Vaughn a great mentor? I’ve known Vaughn for more than four years as his dentist. Vaughn is ambitious, well-rounded, and well-traveled, but more importantly, incredibly grounded. Anyone would have an easy time talking to him. Once he had a dental issue and put his concern about meeting his mentee first above everything, which was inspiring. 

What inspired you to share the joy of mentoring with others?   Both mentee and mentor learn an incredible amount from one another and serve as good reminders to lead by example. 

SuperConnector: Andrew Scarpinato

Andrew, mentor to Jaden, a junior at the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering in New York City, nominated his girlfriend, Brandi, and his best friend from home, John, as mentors.

Andrew Scarpinato and mentee Jaden
From left: Andrew Scarpinato and mentee Jaden

Why would Brandi and John make great mentors?

Both of them display the qualities of mentorship on a daily basis and I have seen it countless times. Brandi is extremely compassionate and caring and takes the time to really understand a person and what it is that drives them. A great example of this was just last month, when Brandi was running the Boston Marathon and came across a friend who was hurt. Instead of just asking a quick “You good?” Brandi ran the entire race with her friend to keep pushing her to finish. She didn’t care about her marathon time. She cared about the other person and their experience. I truly think that sums up what will make Brandi a great mentor—she puts herself aside to have a positive impact on others.

John has been my best friend since I was 10. You can imagine the juvenile hijinks he has helped me through. The thing that really will make John a great mentor is his pairing of a great sense of humor coupled with a deep caring for people. He uses the jokes to get you laughing, then he uses compassion to get you crying. The good kind of cry though—soul-cleansing stuff.  John always makes sure that the people he cares about are at their best, and will go out of his way to make sure of that.

What inspired you to share the joy of mentoring with others?

The positive experience being a mentor has on both mentor and mentee is something that needs to be shared. iMentor is the type of thing that when you talk about it, people immediately listen and are excited. Because everyone wants to help others and iMentor is such a tangible and positive outlet for doing that. I feel like the more people you can get to mentor, the more positive energy we are pouring into tomorrow.