Local elementary students reap the benefits of iMentor
March 25, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
organization committed to “bringing out the best in kids.”
iLive. iLaugh. iMentor.
So reads the motto of one of Centre College’s many student organizations, iMentor, a group active both on campus and off.
iMentor evolved from the Optimist Club (OC) at Centre, which was founded in 2008 but dissolved due to financial obligations to Optimist International. The international association, comprised of more than 3,000 clubs around the world, is devoted to “bringing out the best in kids.” Members of local chapters organize and volunteer for service projects with the youth in their communities.
Because the Centre members of the Optimist Club cherished the organization’s values but were unable to meet the financial requirements to maintain an ongoing relationship, they chose to end ties with Optimist International and to form iMentor.
“We adopted the same ideals we had with the OC,” says Helena Josic ’10 of Dallas, Texas, who served as president of the OC for one year and led iMentor in 2009. “But now the group is under SGA governance and school rules and budgeting.”
When the new group was formed, Josic says, students showed “tremendous interest, and many people were very excited to have a way to get involved with mentoring.”
After joining iMentor, Centre students are “matched” with those hoping for mentors. The mentoring itself often takes place in local elementary schools, where Centre students spend one-on-one time with girls and boys in need of positive role models.
“I’ve been a mentor at Tolliver Elementary for three years, and my favorite part is getting to know the student I’m working with and see how excited he or she is every time I visit,” Josic says. “The young students develop a sense of pride in having their mentors come to their classroom and their classmates seeing them.”
Evis Muhameti ’12 of Quincy, Mass., who currently serves as iMentor president, agrees that mentoring a child is exceptionally rewarding.
“I’ve been mentoring Joe for two years now, and the experience has been great!” she says. “He’s so amazing and always makes me laugh. He’s a great kid, and you can tell that he really enjoys spending time with me as well. I would recommend that everyone mentor a child because it’s a great and fulfilling experience.”
During their weekly get-togethers, mentors and their students engage in an array of pursuits.
“Mentors are free to do many activities,” Muhameti says. “For example, Joe and I read, play board games, talk about our days and sometimes walk around the school—he loves showing me around. I know that other mentors draw with the students, or they make arts and crafts.”
Although iMentors are only required to spend one hour a week with the student with whom they are matched, the bond that forms between them is remarkable.
“I wish more students realized that one hour a week means so much more than that to a student in an elementary school,” Josic says. “If everyone mentored just once or twice, they would realize the personal reward and would be hooked. Most people become lifetime mentors once they take the chance to see what mentoring is all about.”