First, thank you to everyone who contributed last year. Together, we raised over $13,000, which helped 13 mentor/mentee pairs. It also made me the top individual fundraiser for all of iMentor last year. Combined with my friend/colleague, Rema Davis, we raised over $25k. It's a testament to the kind of people I have been fortunate enough to associate with over the years. This year, I know we can beat it. Like I try to tell Amadou to keep improving each year, I have to try to do the same myself.
For those of you who are new to this fundraiser or just need a refresher: iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower students in low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. Students and mentors work one-on-one through iMentor’s online and in-person curriculum to navigate the college application process and build critical skills linked to college success. In New York City, iMentor partners with public schools to ensure every student in the school receives a mentor. Since 1999, iMentor has connected 12,000 students in New York City with mentors, and will match more than 3,500 mentor-mentee pairs this year. iMentor also provides its curriculum, technology, and best practices to nonprofits nationwide to help them run effective mentoring programs in the iMentor model. To learn more about iMentor, visit www.imentor.org or check out what it takes to become a mentor.
Amadou and I are now in our third year together. After overcoming some pains associated with moving to NYC from Guinea, Amadou has shown tremendous growth....literally. When I showed up for the first event this year, I was a little surprised at how far up I had to look to make eye contact (Yes, I know I'm short). Now 18, he's a sophomore and has greatly improved his grades. I got to see them during an activity lately and was happy to see massive improvement. If things continue to get better, we'll be on to Junior year and smooth sailing. Amadou has also moved into the working world cooking up flame broiled burgers for the King. I asked him where my Whopper is, but I have yet to receive one. Probably for the better.
We got to spend a little more time outside of the class recently. At the close of the previous school year, we attended the iMentor final event in Brooklyn. They set up outdoor events and a normally very shy Amadou decided he wanted to try football so we got in a game. As I ran (jogged out of breath) around trying to cover HS kids, he was playing shutdown corner, repeatedly intercepting the opposing QB. During the early winter, we got in a couple of movies. First , we saw Spectre, closing out the Daniel Craig era of Bond. How is it he got Daniel Craig and I got Roger Moore? Next we saw Star Wars. He was pretty excited to learn that Daniel Craig made a cameo as a Storm Trooper. At least I was able to impart some sort of knowledge on him.
It costs $1,000 per year to support each pair and ensure they have access to quality curriculum, programming, technology, and resources. With your help 75% of iMentor students enroll in college and that's 50% higher than the national average! Any help will be greatly appreciated.