It is no secret that mentoring is critical for women in the workplace. Research bears out that women who have access to mentoring rise higher in their chosen professions and create more opportunity for other women in their organizations. For girls – and especially girls of color, mentoring is critical for opening up future college and career possibilities they might have not been exposed to, modeling success, and encouraging persistence.
At Girls Inc. of Alameda County, mentors play a central role in supporting girls as they apply for college and prepare for the workforce. With programs like college essay mentoring and Mock Interviews, volunteer mentors work directly with the girls to help edit their scholarship and admissions essays and practice skills they will need in college and beyond.
Last fall, 17 high school seniors paired with mentors to write and polish their essays for the Girls Inc. National Scholarship Competition. The competition is open to Girls Inc. girls all over the US and Canada and awards scholarships from $5,000 to $20,000. While only five finalists from Girls Inc. of Alameda County could advance to the national competition, all the girls dedicated significant time to the process and ended up with excellent writing samples that also serve as the basis for college admissions essays and other scholarship applications.
“The girls work so hard preparing these essays,” said Jazmin, College Readiness Program Coordinator. “The one-on-one attention from the mentors and the process of refining their statements builds confidence and excitement about college. And the opportunity to win $20,000 can really open doors for our scholars.”
Women of Impact members also mentored students during Mock Interviews, an event matching 9th graders with female professionals to practice their interviewing skills. All Eureka! girls complete two 4-week paid professional internships the summers before their 10th and 11th grades. As part of the program, the girls are required to interview with their prospective internship hosts prior to placement, and program leaders teach them how to prepare. The Mock Interview event allows girls to practice their new skills with adult mentors and builds confidence in their abilities to handle themselves in a professional situation.
All the girls came ready to discuss their accomplishments and goals, and, because they learned interviewing is a two-way street, brought questions to ask their mentors about careers and work life. When asked what was the best thing about the event, one participant said, “Ms. Barbara helped me see there is no one path to travel in life. I can do a lot of different things and be successful.”
Thank you to all our Girls Inc. mentors, and especially our Women of Impact, for supporting our girls as they reach for their futures. To learn more about mentoring and volunteering, click here. If you are interested in becoming a Woman of Impact, download our brochure or reach out to Christina Souto, Director of Individual Giving, at (510) 357-5515 ext. 246.