BROmentum Featured Mentor: Chris Heck

iMentor’s community is one of a kind, with a wealth of thoughtful volunteers committed to making a positive impact in our students’ lives. In honor of their dedication we highlight many of our volunteer mentors, sharing their perspectives on mentorship and the effect it has had on both them and their mentees. Did you know that in the US, women are 150% more likely to volunteer than men? So here at iMentor, we are building BROmentum by recruiting more men to be great mentors to our students. We sat down with a long-time mentor, Chris Heck, to discuss his experience working with his mentee, Luis.

iMentor: What drew you to volunteer with iMentor, and what was your first impression of your mentee?
Chris: A friend of mine suggested I look into the program; I thought it was a great way to give back. I remember thinking Luis was shy at first, he was very measured with his answers to all my questions. That said, I could also tell right away he was a good kid.

iMentor: How did you feel when you first met him?
Chris: It was exciting. I was nervous to meet him, but once I got to know him I knew we would connect.

iMentor: We match pairs who will be matched for a long time – at 3 to 4 years, it’s not your typical weekend volunteer opportunity. How would you describe how your relationship evolved over time?
Chris: I think it happens like any friendship. It starts off slow as you get to know a person, as you learn more and realize how much you have in common, you grow closer and the relationship blossoms.

iMentor: I can imagine the growth you’ve seen in your mentee as he developed through high school, but what about yourself? Were there any benefits to you personally that you didn’t expect when you become a mentor?
Chris: One of the greatest benefits of being a mentor is being forced to expand your mindset. When Luis and I talk about things, whether it be sports or the latest news, it gives me the opportunity to listen to a perspective I wouldn't normally hear.

iMentor: To any prospective mentors out there who don’t volunteer yet, what would you tell them about the volunteer experience that they might not know?
Chris: The great part of iMentor is you actually get to see the difference you're making in someone's life over time. You can see how your advice/guidance is accepted and how your mentee evolves throughout high school. It's also a great option for people that have hectic schedules because you can really customize the time you spend with your mentee to what works for both of your schedules. We did a lot of power-lunches. It was a great way to catch-up quickly, talk through anything they wanted to discuss and then touch base on his college goals too.

iMentor: And finally, if Luis is reading, what would you say to him about your journey together?
Chris: I would say that signing up for iMentor was one of the best things I've ever done. It's been a pleasure watching you grow into the young man you are today and I'm immensely proud.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Register now for an upcoming Mentor Orientation in NYC, Chicago, or the Bay Area!