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Mentor on a mission to make a difference

A passion for mentoring goes back to college days for Chris Crumpler, the executive director of Impact Mentoring Academy.

“Even as a business major, I wanted to get involved with young people — I thought the best way to make a difference was in education,” Mr Crumpler told The Royal Gazette.

Time is proving him right. After seven years delivering learning support and educational therapy for the Ministry of Education, Mr Crumpler made the move over to Impact, which is now flourishing in a new premises as a place of transformation for young men.

In the past few years Mr Crumpler has spread the word of personal and professional development at graduations, workshops, lectures and panel discussions.

“I felt that Impact fits all of what I do in one establishment,” said Mr Crumpler, from his office in the school’s new home at the former Berkeley Institute.

More than that, it provided him with a personal opportunity to grow and learn.

“Even though the work is hard, when you’re developing people there is always the unexpected. And there’s nothing like an administration or board that really supports you. People often say that kids are stresses, but really it’s adults that can make a job more taxing.”

Impact has 16 middle- to high-school-aged students at present, but an open house last month drew about 50 applicants for 15 positions, and Mr Crumpler expects the coming roster to grow to 25-28. Impact bills itself as nonprofit, nonsectarian and Christian-based, but its director stressed that the schools take in “transfers, students from public schools, private schools, Christian, Muslim, atheist”.

Mr Crumpler, who attends Vernon Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, calls himself “very much spiritual, very much Christian” but added: “I definitely consider myself unorthodox; I’m not big on ritual.

“I think there’s God in every person, and whatever you do with that person is based on them.

“There’s no blanket way. Everybody is different.”

Part of the inspiration came from Flagler College, where Mr Crumpler took part in the Big Brothers Big Sisters programme — and where he also met his wife, Nicole.

He recalled one occasion meeting up with the young person he was mentoring, when he found himself without any money to go to the movies, but discovered the value of spending quality time together.

“Impact is life-changing,” he said.

“There’s a unique and powerful institution in Bermuda that’s to my mind still a big secret. A lot of people really don’t know what happens within these walls. So part of our job is to bring awareness of the great work that’s going on in here.”