“Over three years together, I had the opportunity to watch my mentee mature into a confident, passionate, and well-rounded young adult. The joy of seeing this was second only to the knowledge that I had played a small part in her development. This is what has made my time with Minds Matter so rewarding.”Dylan Andres, Mentor
Our volunteers are energetic, committed, and successful professionals who dedicate their time to helping Minds Matter’s students achieve their academic potential. More than 600 volunteers in New York City help Minds Matter achieve its mission each year.
Minds Matter volunteers come from diverse career backgrounds including advertising, banking, consulting, education, finance, law, marketing, non-profit and many others. The Minds Matter volunteer experience offers committed and caring individuals the opportunity to belong to a community of service-minded peers as well as the chance to build their leadership skills and carry the organization to new levels each year.
Mentors guide, challenge, and celebrate their student through their three years in the program. As a mentor, you’ll act as a caring adult in your mentee’s life, providing emotional and consistent support while sharing insight from your own journey to college and beyond.
How it Works
Minds Matter utilizes a 2:1 mentor-mentee model: mentors work with their student alongside one other adult mentor to form a triad. Every week, triads work through the Minds Matter curriculum, which guides students through exercises to develop the hard and soft skills they need to succeed in college. Mentors commit to following their student throughout their three years in the program. Together, triads form the backbone of a student’s experience in Minds Matter.
The mentor role is all about strong relationships. In order to effectively guide, challenge and celebrate their mentee, mentors exhibit and develop a few key characteristics:
- Your relationship is built over time, in and out of session, but the majority of your interactions happens at Saturday session. Therefore, showing up and being present at session is the baseline for your effectiveness as a mentor. Mentors are required to attend at least 80% of Saturday sessions during the course of the school year.
- Acting as a role model and caring adult for your mentee requires active listening, empathy, commitment and integrity. Furthermore, it’s critical that mentors follow through on their commitments made to their mentee. Unfulfilled promises negatively impact relationships, but especially those with young people. Mentors act as role models and mentor not only their own student, but also all of the students on their team.
- While there are no required meetings outside of Saturday session, we ask mentors to be responsive to short texts/emails from their student during the week, and actively check-in from time to time.
- All volunteers act as representatives of Minds Matter in and out of session, and are asked to uphold the organization’s values and core beliefs.
- Mentors are required to be college graduates of 4-year colleges or universities.
- Mentors are required to pass a criminal background check and undergo child protection training.
- Mentors work in triads to ensure that their student’s assignments are completed on time.
- Each co-mentor pair is responsible for providing lunch for students on their team two times per year, at a total cost of approximately $100 per semester.
- Mentors are asked to play in a role in fundraising for the organization throughout their time in Minds Matter. (There are no penalties for not participating.)
- Mentors may be asked to recruit new volunteers for Minds Matter.
Mentors commit to volunteering with Minds Matter for 2-3 hours per week on Saturdays from approximately 11:00am – 12:30pm. Mentors should be prepared to commit to three years as volunteers as they follow their student through the program.
Writing & Critical Thinking Advisors
Typical Writing & Critical Thinking Advisors have a professional or academic focus in writing.
- Sophomore Program: Each volunteer is grouped with three sophomore students in a structured program to help take the students’ writing skills from the basic to the intermediate and advanced levels.
- Junior & Senior Programs: These volunteers administer weekly essay assignments and participate in the review of summer program and college applications for students in the Junior and Senior Programs.
- Writing & Critical Thinking Advisors help to recruit subsequent generations of Minds Matter volunteers and leaders.
- Time Commitment: 2-3 hours per week, including Saturday sessions from approximately 2:00pm – 3:30pm.
Test Prep Instructors
Test Prep Instructors are trained to guide students in small groups through a structured weekly Kaplan curriculum that helps elevate their SAT scores.
- Test Prep SAT sessions take place every Saturday for two hours from October through May.
- Test Prep Instructors help to recruit subsequent generations of Minds Matter volunteers and leaders.
- Time Commitment: 2-3 hours per week, including Saturday sessions from approximately 12:30pm – 2:00pm.
Team Leaders are central to our mentoring program. They guide the weekly sessions and make sure that students and mentors have everything they need to be productive in their time together.
Serving as a leadership team member offers a wonderful opportunity to increase your participation in Minds Matter and serve a critical role in the implementation of our program services. All volunteers are welcome to apply for any position.
- Co-Director of Alumni Program
- Co-Director of College Advising
- Co-Director of Junior Mentoring
- Co-Director of Senior Mentoring
- Co-Director of Sophomore Mentoring
- Co-Director of Summer Programs (Junior year only)
- Co-Director of Test Prep (Sophomore year only)
- Co-Director of Writing & Critical Thinking (Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year)