Four years ago, Warren, a high school freshman, and Steve, a recent college graduate working in financial services, were matched as mentor and mentee at the Academy for Software Engineering. Warren was bright-eyed but shy while Steve, passionate about public speaking and presentation, was the most outgoing person in the room. He quickly identified some places where he could support Warren as a student and a young man, and began to focus on building a strong relationship.
Steve excelled as a mentor. His check-in calls with me always lasted nearly an hour because he was prepared with a list of questions about Warren’s home life, his school performance, and the ins and outs of New York State graduation requirements. At the end of the first year of their match, Steve let me know that he was going to arrange a weekly call with Warren over the summer. When I spoke with Steve at the beginning of sophomore year, he said they had spoken almost every day.
Across sophomore and junior year, the mentor and mentee pair grew closer. Steve came to Warren’s performances at a talent show, took him to basketball games, and got to know his family. Eventually, Warren’s family asked that the school include Steve in conversations about the student’s future, and Steve became a crucial liaison between the family and school administrators. Warren’s Principal and Assistant Principal got to know Steve very well.
One day Steve asked me to put him in touch with the school’s guidance counselor. I connected them, thinking Steve had a question about Warren. Later, I found out it had been an informational interview. When Steve asked me to write him a letter of recommendation for Columbia’s School of Social Work, he explained that his time with iMentor had inspired him to pursue a career doing the thing he enjoyed the most – working with students and families like Warren's.
At Columbia, Steve is now working towards becoming a guidance counselor, while Warren is headed to the College of Staten Island in the fall. The pair meets every weekend to study at Warren’s local library, just as they have for the past year. The future is bright for both of them.
Steve and Warren have changed each other’s lives forever. Because of Steve’s work with his family and school, Warren is headed to college. Because of Warren’s experience, Steve is in graduate school, on a new path in his life and career.