The FORMER Mentor
Many of you know that I was the longest-serving mentor in iMentor history. I dare say that my nineteen-year stint is a record that will never be shattered.
However, iMentor has severed my relationship with them.
The reason was one they did not sugar coat or cover up at all. They saw posts from me claiming that I did not believe that systemic racism exists in The United States of America. iMentor REQUIRES all their volunteers (at least) to believe that systemic racism is real. An alternate thought is something for which they are not willing to accommodate.
I will first address the bigger problem of the blatant fascism. Not allowing volunteers to disagree with any groupthought of the organization is, first and foremost, losing out on a lot of quality mentors, as is obvious in my case. However, it is also obvious that requiring the primary contact iMentor has with students (i.e. the volunteer mentors) to think a certain way infers that they want to indoctrinate the students they serve with the same thought. Will they refuse to serve students who don't fall in line, or give preferential treatment or better evaluations to those that do? Will they then enter into illegal activity and fire those employees that don't fall in line with the groupthought?
Now I will address the specific thought for which I am required to fall in line. Teaching students that they have to deal not just with racism (which is an absolutely appropriate issue of which to make them aware), but SYSTEMIC racism is very detrimental to the original goal of iMentor, which is to encourage inner-city high-school students to pursue higher education. If the entire educational system is designed to work against minority students, then what is the motivation for minority students to pursue working within a system in which they already have a disadvantage? Also, you will be teaching white students (which are in fact served by iMentor, as I myself have had one white mentee early on in my service with iMentor) that they have a decided advantage in the entire higher education process, which promotes feelings of guilt and resentment between white students and minority students. The original goal of iMentor is best served by allowing volunteers to have a mindset of encouragement and unity, and not requiring them to adopt a mindset of discouragement and divisiveness.
So now I have gone from one of their biggest supporters to their biggest detractor. I discourage anyone from giving money to iMentor and, instead, donate to my alma mater Regis High School. The proceeds to my song "Climb High" will no longer be donated to iMentor, as the lyrics are antithetical to the idea of systemic racism. I will be looking for a new volunteer opportunity to nourish my soul that can make good use of my talents and dedication.