• Mentor an African American scholar throughout their high school career
  • Provide a four-year financial investment to support college and career success programming
  • Expose your scholar to an array of opportunities and experiences through various mentor/scholar outings
  • Attend yearly LINK training and social events with your scholar
  • Help recruit at least one LINK mentor during your time in the program

Because we are a ‘college and career success’ organization that focuses on rigorous academic preparation, we look for mentors who have the personal life experience to help motivate a high school student to perform well in and out of the classroom, explore career options, and prepare for a successful transition to a selective 4-year college.

We prefer that prospective mentors hold a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year college or university and have established themselves in a career for a minimum of three years after graduation.

Each LINK mentor makes a four-year commitment to one LINK scholar. We ask that mentors commit a few hours each month to develop and maintain a strong relationship with their scholar and expose them to life-enriching activities and opportunities. Specifically, we ask that mentors:

  • Contact their scholar twice a month, via phone, email, text, or Skype
  • Arrange in-person engagements at least four times each year
  • Agree to attend three annual LINK events (Class Session, College Fair and End of Year Celebration) that occur between September – June

LINK is 100% privately funded with financial support from individual donors, foundations and corporations, as well as from mentors. We ask mentors to make an annual financial investment ranging from $3,000 – $10,000/year for four consecutive years, to ensure that LINK scholars have access to high quality, college preparatory academic institutions, as well as the essential comprehensive wraparound programming. For a $3,000 investment, this could be a 12-month contribution of $250.

To meet this financial investment, you can:

  • Make annual payments
  • Make monthly payments
  • Share the cost with a co-mentor
  • Check with your company regarding an option for a company match
  • Identify / recruit someone who will commit to a multi-year financial investment
  • Donate stock or securities

Yes. As an organization that works closely with young people, we must, above all else, ensure their safety. To protect the scholars enrolled in the LINK program, we require that prospective mentors (and co-mentors) complete an application which includes the submission of three personal references (names and contact numbers) and provide their consent for a background check.

Yes. LINK provides an evening mentor training prior to meeting your scholar. Pre-match training covers mentor expectations, cultural competency training, an overview of our program goals and rules, best practices in youth mentoring, relationship development, and a review of available resources. The training also includes a ‘voices of experience’ offering an opportunity to hear the perspectives of alumni, and/or returning mentors.

After meeting your scholar, LINK provides an annual 2-hour Class Session with your scholar and his/her parent(s) or guardian. Topics covered are relevant to the scholar’s academic year and personal development. Trainings always include an opportunity to celebrate successes and improve shortcomings in the mentor-mentee relationship. Grade-appropriate college information is also included and helps reinforce LINK’s college-readiness goals for our scholars. All trainings conclude with a valuable goal-setting activity for each mentor-scholar-parent group.

New mentors and incoming freshman fill out a match form to help us connect scholars and mentors with like interests. Each person lists their hobbies, personal characteristics, and activities of interest. The scholars are asked about their ambitions and career goals, while mentors are asked about their occupation. We also try to factor in home and school/work locations into the matching process. Lastly, LINK staff also takes the time to get to know both incoming scholars and mentors to match scholars and mentors to make an even better match.

LINK mentors provide advice, encouragement, and exposure to new experiences and an extensive network. The guidance provided by our mentors helps connect our scholars’ dreams for their future with the reality of achieving that future.

Typical activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Meeting for a meal at a restaurant or cooking a meal together
  • Attending the scholar’s school event (concert, athletic event, etc.)
  • Participating in various leisure activities (biking, bowling, shooting hoops)
  • Attending a play, concert, or sporting event
  • Spending time at your workplace, discussing your career path and meeting your colleagues
  • Visiting a museum or a college campus

We take a 360º approach to our scholars–working to provide them with the academic and personal resources they need to create economically stable futures. Your mentorship is a key part of that equation. You get the personal satisfaction of knowing that your contribution has extended well beyond the student to their family, school and community; that your one-on-one guidance has forever changed a young person’s life, while your financial investment has provided them with the personal and academic resources they need to succeed now and in the future, including:

  • Annual Summer Learning Program (beginning the summer before 9th grade)
  • Tutoring (for any scholar who struggles academically), since we require that every scholar maintains a rigorous, college-prep course load and an unweighted minimum 3.0 G.P.A (on a 4.0 scale). Most of our scholars maintain a 3.3 G.P.A. or better.
  • College and career counseling for every LINK scholar to ensure their successful admission to a four-year college or university. This includes:

        – One-on-one college counseling sessions
        – College fairs
        – College campus visits
        – Career fairs
        – Financial aid workshops
        – College transition workshops
        – Test preparation
        – Summer study & travel abroad opportunities fair
        – Toastmasters Workshops
        – Retreats
        – Additional personal & leadership workshops

Consider becoming a LINK Benefactor or Active Benefactor.

LINK Benefactor
If you are interested in supporting a LINK scholar financially, but do not feel you have the time to provide the one-on-one mentorship, consider joining the LINK family as a Benefactor. Many recent LINK alumni and young professionals want to be involved as mentors, but are unable to meet the full financial requirement for mentorship. Benefactors help offset our costs, allowing us to pair some of our scholars with young professional mentors.

Active Benefactor*
If you are interested in supporting a LINK scholar financially while having some contact, consider becoming an Active Benefactor. As an active benefactor, you and a mentor* will be paired with a specific LINK scholar. Active Benefactors receive their scholar’s grade reports and are invited to participate in LINK social events with their scholar throughout the year.

*Many of our Active Benefactors choose a junior-level professional at their office to fulfill the mentor role.

As a LINK benefactor or active benefactor, you commit to making a financial contribution for four consecutive years, ranging from $3,000-$10,000.

We’re excited to hear you’re interested in joining the LINK family! Please contact our mentoring department at 312.225.5465 (ext. 214) or dmetz@linkunlimited.org to schedule an introductory meeting.

Please email the following information with the subject line “Mentor Referral” to mentoring@linkunlimited.org and include this information:

Your Name (Person providing referral)
Your contact number
How you know the Prospect Mentor
Prospect Mentor’s Name
Prospect Mentor’s Company/Place of Employment
Prospect Mentor’s Preferred Phone Number
Prospect Mentor’s Preferred Email

THANK YOU for considering this opportunity to positively impact the life of a LINK scholar!