Imagine LA's Mentors Are Our Magic!
Imagine LA Volunteer Mentors serve as friends, partners, and companions for parents and children who have experienced homelessness (and are now housed) on their individual and family journeys.
November 2020 update: As we approach the holiday season, we are slowing our Mentor onboarding activities to align with our families' needs. We are still accepting Mentor Applications and scheduling limited interviews for November and January. In the meantime, please click here to learn about our in-kind donation needs to help bring joy to our families during this festive season.
COVID-19 PIVOT: As we all cope with the COVID-19 crisis, the health of our families, Mentors, and staff is our top priority. As such, we have pivoted our Mentorship program to be fully virtual for the duration of the crisis. This includes shifting to temporary, virtual platforms and processes for our training sessions, family & Mentor kickoff meetings, and all Mentor-mentee interactions. When local and national health guidelines change, Mentors and Mentees will begin or continue in-person interaction.
Who Are We?
- Imagine LA is a nonprofit organization working to break the cycle of family homelessness and chronic poverty for families who have experienced homelessness (and are now housed), through a supercharged blend of case management and mentorship
- Established in 2006, click here for more about our history
- Our empowerment model leverages a powerful combination of clinical family case management by master’s-level social workers (called Imagine LA Family Team Managers (FTM)), financial wellness & career pathways, targeted whole family resources, and teams of trained volunteer Mentors to meet the needs of each family member
- Through the power of relationships and trust, our families set and meet their goals, strengthen their assets and community support systems, and achieve career and educational success as springboards out of intergenerational poverty
- All families receive clinical case management for 6+ months before being matched with volunteer Mentors.
What is a Mentor?
- Mentorship is a collaborative relationship between individuals who wish to share their experiences and knowledge with one another
- Mentors form an ongoing friendship with their Mentee, sharing with each other about the life they have experienced and helping each other grow
- Mentors partner with their Mentees, walking alongside them to envision and actualize their goals; Mentors are not expected to be experts, guides, or coaches
- 21 years or older
- Live in Greater Los Angeles
- Believe in the power of relationships
- Interested in partnering with families to meet their goals
The Mentor Experience
- One-on-one relationship-building and mentoring activities with one Mentee (age 5 & older) (e.g., trips to the beach, help with science project, budgeting or resumé writing)
- Ongoing support, resources, and coaching from your FTM
- Continuous collaboration with your Mentor Team (all Mentors paired with members of the Mentee's family)
- Year-round calendar of volunteer and engagement opportunities with Imagine LA
- Online application
- Phone interview (~45 minutes)
- Training (virtual during COVID)
- Mandatory background check (paid for by Imagine LA)
What’s the Commitment?
- Twice monthly visits with your Mentee (2 hours each / 4 hours per month)
- Mentor Team conference calls with your FTM (1 hour per month)
- Consistent relationship-building and communication with your Mentee (30 min per month)
- Ongoing communication with Imagine LA staff (30 min per month)
- Quarterly potluck-style meetings with the family & FTM (2 hours per quarter)
- Total: 6-8 hours per month for up to 18 months, based on the family's needs
- It feels great!
- Learn about homelessness & poverty
- Transformative vs. transactional volunteering
- Develop new skills & relationships
- Deep community- and relationship-building with your Mentor Team and beyond
- Be an agent of long-term change
- Background check (no cost to you!)
The success and integrity of our Family Empowerment & Mentorship Program relies on the fit between our Mentors and our Families. Just like any matching process, it's more important to do it right than to do it fast. If we determine that you are a fit for our program, please be prepared for a “patient process” rather than the rapid placement you may experience with other volunteer opportunities. Your match might happen within a week, but it is equally likely that will take a month or more. We strive to move as quickly as possible, but ultimately, for our families' success, fit is more important than speed.
Note: As a mentorship program best practice, volunteer Mentors who (1) are related or (2) belong to the same social, community, or professional circle are not typically matched with members of the same Imagine LA Family. Imagine LA encourages families and groups to become Mentors together, and will work shoulder-to-shoulder with your community to develop customized strategies to meaningfully share the Mentor experience with each other and the community at large.