Immanuel Presbyterian Church (IPC) in McLean, Va., is a 581-member congregation in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. One of the founding members of Harraseeket is a member.
IPC has a strong mentoring history, having conducted two “Dreamers” programs, in which members mentored students in a low-income area of Washington, DC, and paid college tuition for those who graduated from high school.
We call Pathways at Immanuel “IPC Pathways.” IPC Pathways started with 24 participants and, without active recruitment, it has grown to 62 participants. There are 11 volunteers building the program, and an advisory board consisting mostly of young adults.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in McLean, VA. Striving to follow Jesus, we seek to embody God’s love in worship, service, education, and community. The youth ministries program seeks to connect with youth at a variety of levels.
Mentoring conversations have been going on since fall 2017. Dozens of career mentoring conversations have happened so far. There have been two career forums. The volunteer team is working with Harraseeket on developing online resources.
- A college student seeker interested in politics was connected to a mentor’s friends who work in Richmond and on Capitol Hill
- A law student seeker was connected by two mentors to lawyers outside Immanuel with experience in intellectual property law, her field of interest
- A mentor connected her seeker to colleagues at a communications firm where the mentor works
- A graduate student was connected to opportunities in the government
My mentor conversations have been really helpful. They've suggested some other career paths that I wouldn't have considered before. I'd been getting career tunnel vision—where I could only picture myself doing a few things— my mentors have helped me break out of that thinking. I've returned to job searching with a renewed energy.
I loved having the opportunity to meet with [my seeker]. She was so open, warm, and eager to learn about how I had navigated my career path and about some of the choices I made along the way. While it became clear fairly early in our discussion that our career paths were not likely to be very similar, I felt that we connected and both benefitted from considering questions we posed to one another, including, for example, what we see as our greatest personal skills and gifts that we would hope to utilize in the workplace. [The seeker] commented to me that she felt that was a good question that she had never really fully considered in that way. After [the seeker] thoughtfully responded to this question, I’d like to think that she had a bit more clarify and direction that could prove helpful as she considers various job opportunities and her career path. In the end, I walked away with much to think about myself and, if the truth be told, I likely benefitted from the meeting as much, if not more, than [the seeker], who is a truly remarkable person.
In tracing back over my career path with my seeker, interesting threads of connection emerged within the different jobs that I've had over the years that I don't think I saw at the time as I transitioned from one job to the next. That clarity cued up some perspective in my seeker that, despite confusion and overwhelm in contemplating career paths, if they allowed inner guidance to prevail in steering them towards first jobs, seeds of growth would be sown that could be cultivated from one job to the next, each position with potential to amplify their innate talents and gifts. I saw that I had stayed true to my deep interests and passions and that I was able to flourish in positions that at first glance didn't seem to be the perfect fit.
I had such a dynamic exchange with the seeker I met with. Their energy and commitment really inspired me.
It was fantastic! I enjoyed talking with [mentor] a lot. He helped me feel more confident about my [job]. Would love to continue to talk in the future
I was so glad to have the opportunity to meet with my mentee to answer a few questions, provide insight, and learn more about what he wants to do and what drives him. It was tremendously rewarding to meet such a bright, motivated young person and help him move toward his goals, and it feels good to pay forward all of the assistance and guidance that I was lucky enough to receive when starting out. I’m looking forward to continuing the mentorship role with him and others as time goes on.
Through our conversation I was able to use my experience to help (seeker) see the patterns in her own life that pointed to why she truly enjoys and the types of roles that she might find most fulfilling.
My experience with Pathways has been much more than traditional mentoring — I call it conversing and sharing. We don’t know where it goes but the journey is rewarding so far. It affirms my long-held view of Immanuel as a family.
I have had a great experience with Pathways. The connections I’ve made have helped me explore job opportunities, feel more confident in my abilities, and think about my career from a fresh perspective.
My first conversation with my mentor was incredibly organic, supportive, and fun. I learned a valuable perspective from her, that career paths aren’t always linear and are often enriched by your openness to opportunities. I intend to carry this with me on my career journey, and have greatly enjoyed our newly fostered relationship and correspondence.
My connection with [my mentor] was very successful! Through him I got to meet with three program leads at the National Academy of Sciences. Including the head of the new Climate Change program they are trying to set up. They said that I might be able to find a position open over this summer, and if that happens then I have a good chance to land it since I got my foot in the door way ahead of time. Thanks so much for the connection.