Alex & Isaac

With our non-selective whole school model, we serve every student in school by integrating a weekly iMentor class into their regular school schedule. At times, students can be apprehensive about meeting someone new or need extra time to settle into the program, like our mentee Isaac.

Isaac was a quiet student who initially had reservations about the iMentor program, though he already had his sights set on a career as a police officer.

"When I was young, there was a situation where the cops had to come, and an officer actually sat me down and explained what was happening and made sure I was ok," Isaac said. "Looking back, it made a big difference that he took the time to talk to me and comfort me. That's what I want to be, the cop who helps people."

Because of his interest in law enforcement, Isaac was matched with his mentor Alex, who works at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

The two shared a belief in the importance of helping others. "I have always volunteered in some capacity, ever since high school," Alex said. "As a DA, we're public servants, and community involvement is essential. It's very important that putting people in custody isn't our only interaction with the community. I coach mock trial at another high school, and when my colleague Johnny Gogo told me about iMentor, I wanted to get involved."

As a mentor, Alex harnessed Isaac's interest in criminal justice to build their relationship. He gave Isaac a tour of the San Jose Police Department, which became an incredible half day experience.

"He got me an Uber to take me downtown," Isaac said, "we met at the police station, and his friend Officer Rodriguez gave us a tour. We talked about everything: the squad cars, the meeting rooms, how the different units work, how you get jobs there, what they're looking for in people. They said that even though you can get into the academy with an associate degree, it would be better for me to get my bachelor's degree first since I want to become a sergeant or a homicide detective."

After the visit, Isaac began sending his mentor frequent messages, peppering him with questions about careers in law enforcement.

"When I meet up with Alex, I feel like I'm meeting a friend who has a common interest and can give me the knowledge I need about my future career" Isaac said. "I am genuinely curious about everything he has to offer me."

Thanks to Alex, Isaac plans to build his resume by enrolling in a basic training program for future police officers. He'll be able to pursue this program while attending Evergreen Community College. After community college, Isaac wants to transfer to San Jose State University to earn his bachelor's degree before applying to the Police Academy.

"We already joke that someday we're going to be working cases together," Alex said. "I would really like to see Isaac through not just college, but through the Academy. It's great if you have a solid relationship with your field training officer, but it's also important to have someone to talk to who isn't grading you; I look forward to being that sounding board for him."

For now, having a mentor who connected the dots between his dream career and the path to get there has transformed Isaac's motivation in school and led to a flourishing relationship.

"It's very helpful to have a mentor in high school, especially being matched with someone in the career I wanted but didn't know much about," Isaac said. "You have someone to help you in school, to stay on you and hold you accountable. My parents both work, and it really helps to have someone who is as focused on your goal nonstop, as much as you are. When I finally become a police officer, I will want to thank Alex for everything he has done for me."