So, a couple weeks back a work colleague asked me if I "knew of" this organization called iMentor, and I was like... "Dude...I MENTOR for iMentor! Paola and I are iMentor famous!" This is only partially true, however. Way back in 2012 when my iPhone was tiny but my heart was big. I was eager to join an organization that would connect me with young people and allow me to make an impact - but I was also working many, many, MANY hours in a relatively new position. Enter iMentor. After some internet sleuthing I came across iMentor: "One email a week, one meeting a month". Sounds doable...sign me up. (Actually...send me to orientation, phone interview me, check several references, fingerprint and background check me...THEN sign me up) My mentee Paola was a junior in a KIPP college prep program. Wise way beyond her years with compassion, empathy and depth that would put any "one-email a week" do-gooder to shame. She had started a volunteer effort to visit children diagnosed with Cancer, she wrote poetry and she cared for her family - especially her younger sister who she loved fiercely. All this while maintaining an excellent GPA and participating in numerous school activities. The only the Paola wasn't doing was planning for college. She was casually considering joining a 2-year community college and possibly transferring to a 4-year school later. SAY WHAT???? At that moment my mission was obvious, I was #TeamPaola #NotGoingIsNotAnOption. To be clear, this is not the approach we as mentors are instructed to take with each student. We are encouraged to meet our mentees where they are, be present and most importantly be consistent. In Paola's case, however, it became obvious that she had aspirations and potential to change the world she really just needed someone to show her how. We spent two years learning about each other, discussing life experiences, demystifying scholarships/student loans/grants and working on her personal statement. Paola visited the Cornell campus and fell in love with the University - with some trepidation she applied - with no hesitation she was afforded a full-ride. Paola is now a Junior, pre-med, campus leader, published blogger and student activist. She's easily one of the most awe-inspiring women I've ever met - and I owe that to iMentor. Our match officially completed in 2014, so "I mentor for iMentor" is not actually an accurate statement for me at this moment; but, it will be. I in the process of entering my second match in September. So, as I re-embark on my mentorship journey I hope that you will join me by supporting a truly amazing organization.