Building a Future: David and Cesar’s Story

One of the many benefits of being a mentor is having the opportunity to build leadership skills. Mentors develop the confidence to lead by coaching mentees through their plans for the future. David and Cesar are a pair from iMentor NYC who show that both mentors and mentees can practice these skills as they set goals and develop their relationship.

Inspired by NYC

David and Cesar were paired at the International High School at Lafayette in 2020. Even though their first meetings were over Zoom, the two were determined to connect and make the most of their mentorship. They both came from very different backgrounds – David from California and Cesar from Guatemala – but they shared similar experiences of being amazed by the wonders of New York City.

“The story of seeing New York City for the first time was really inspiring,” David remembers. “Everyone has these moments where they realize they’re at a new chapter or looking at a new area of opportunity for them.” With David’s encouragement, Cesar turned his story of moving to New York into his college personal statement, expressing how he saw the skyline and envisioned himself one day designing one of its impressive buildings.

David realized how much this meant to Cesar and saw a perfect chance to step in and lead the way. “A leader is not an expert,” he says. “In the context of mentorship, [it’s] putting words or structure on things that might be nebulous to somebody else.” He not only helped Cesar craft his personal statement, but also research schools, navigate confusing college bureaucracy, and put a name to the idea that Cesar had in mind to study: architecture. Cesar has since enrolled at New York City College of Technology as an architecture major.

Learning From Each Other

Over the years, David and Cesar have grown close together as friends. Cesar says that David shows him what it means to lead others – by keeping them focused and pointing them in the right direction when lost – qualities that Cesar models in his own life. Often, he would reach out to new classmates at his school who spoke his language to help them become more familiar with the environment.

In turn, David has learned how effective it is to take small steps and actions when mentoring another person – lessons that he will apply to working with his new mentee Joe. David still keeps in touch with Cesar and looks forward to seeing how their mentorship will evolve as Cesar finishes college.

“Every relationship is a bit different,” David says. “[Mentorship] is an umbrella term for a suite of very unique relationships and ways of collaborating and learning from each other. Everyone can find something within this kind of program that is helpful for them.”

We need more mentors like David to guide students through high school, college, and beyond! Sign up to become a mentor today: