Hear from our mentors:
"Getting to mentor a high school student was equal parts rewarding and humbling. I felt so grateful that my mentee trusted me with their thoughts and experiences, and I learned very quickly that I was not going to have the answers all the time (and that that was never the point to begin with). I met my mentee in person starting in Fall 2019, but quickly moved remote once COVID hit in March 2020. I’m still in awe of everything they were able to accomplish while processing constant change and stress."
"It is important that we share our experiences with students especially first-generation college students so they will know how to navigate college life and beyond. Our lessons learned can be great wisdom for the younger generation. We need programs like GSCA to be able to share and pass on our knowledge and information. It is also great when students are receptive and want to learn and are open-minded."
"The benefits of mentoring for mentees (and also mentors!) have been proven time and time again. By providing guidance and support, I felt we both grew in increased confidence and comfort in our communications, especially navigating college, fulfillment through community, and respectful and engaging perspectives. In addition, I think this program allowed us to foster inclusive and collaborative conversation."
Mentoring guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.
What are the benefits of being a mentor?Over the years mentors have experienced the joy of encouraging students to discover and reach for their dreams. Helping mentees find the post-secondary education that meets their needs is a huge gift for students who are often the first in their families to pursue post secondary opportunities.
How much time will I commit to participate?Ideally, mentors make a multi-year commitment to the program, which includes twice a month, one-hour virtual meetings while school is in session. If pairings want to schedule additional virtual meetings according to their schedules, they may do so. We also encourage mentors to participate in annual in-person events.
What topics are covered by mentors?Before each mentoring session, each participating mentor receives a suggesting topics and activities that coordinate with what the student covered in class the week before with GCSA staff. Mentors discuss a variety of topics with mentees related to their careers, their educational/college experiences, and their passions and interests. Mentors and mentees may also discuss experiences in their personal lives.
Is mentoring experience required?To be a GCSA mentor, no mentoring experience is required. We ask that mentors have at least 3-5 years work experience, some college education, and be eager to work with and guide our mentees.
How are mentors screened?At GCSA, we match our volunteer mentors with students who are typically under 18 years of age. To ensure that all of our mentors are safe, appropriate, and consistent adults, each volunteer receives a background check before being introduced to a student.
How do students become members of GCSA?GCSA is partnered with several schools in New York City with students from the five boroughs.. These schools include UA School for Emergency Management, UA Gateway School of Technology, UA School for Design and Construction East Side Community High School, New Design High School. Students from each school are recruited at the end of their freshmen year to join GCSA. There is no screening process for students other than a commitment to weekly attendance in the program.
How will I be matched with a mentee?Mentors and mentees are asked to complete a survey which is used to match the pairs based on personality traits, interests, passions, and potentially work experience. Mentors can apply using the application/matching survey linked here.