NBA Foundation: Students have the help they need with iMentor

The NBA Foundation has selected iMentor as one of their grant recipients.

The journey from high school to college to the workplace is full of unexpected twists and turns. With the help of iMentor, students and young adults no longer have to navigate these difficult roads alone.

iMentor is a national non-profit organization that connects and empowers young people through mentoring. iMentor provides each student at a partner school with a mentor. The program begins on the 11thth class and lasts two years after graduation.

The NBA Foundation, the league’s first-ever charitable foundation dedicated to advancing economic opportunity for black youth, has selected iMentor as one of its grantees.

“Our goal is to build mentoring relationships that empower first-generation college students to pursue the college of their dreams,” said Celine Patel, iMentor’s Chief External Officer. “We actually have a program manager who is not a staff member of the school and teaches about careers, financial education, resumes, everything we know it takes for a student to pursue a meaningful career, which is our end goal. The great thing is that they learn in the classroom and really learn in action with their mentor.”

Students from the iMentor program—one of the NBA Foundation’s scholarship recipients—attend a Chicago Bulls game.

The students meet weekly online and once a month in person with their mentors. The student and mentor can continue their relationship through college if they wish.

“We know that mentors can open doors for young people with their expertise, knowledge and guidance,” said Katie Longofono, Associate Director, National Development at iMentor. “Mentors are the cheerleaders and stand up for the students.”

iMentor, which first opened its doors in 1999, has matched over 38,000 students across the country with mentors. iMentor mentores students in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Chicago and New York.

Thanks to the partnership with the NBA Foundation, iMentor was able to start numerous new initiatives.

“It’s been such a great partnership with the NBA Foundation,” said Longofono. “We formed our partnership with the NBA at a time when we were carefully considering how we could help students think more about their careers. In recent years we have realized that you have to combine college and career. You can help a person get into college, but then they may not know what they want to do. Or they may not know what a meaningful career looks like and how their education can be directly linked to their career. The NBA supports many of our workshops on interviewing, writing a resume, updating your LinkedIn account, building your personal brand, and applying for jobs.”

High school, college, and career choices are all major milestones and transition points in a student’s life. iMentor is here to make a difference.

“We are proud to support iMentor’s work in building strong mentoring relationships for black youth across the country,” said Greg Taylor, executive director of the NBA Foundation. “The effectiveness of the iMentor model in giving young people the tools to enroll and succeed in college is inspiring and we look forward to expanding their work.”

Click here to learn more about iMentor and volunteers.

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