During this year’s Power of Your Purse Gala, we will celebrate and support the educational achievements of girls and women in our community. We’ll also look to the future as we empower the next generation of women leaders.
This virtual event, hosted by Women United, is raising funds to support programs that help empower women and girls across Utah through educational opportunities. Chief among these are high school mentoring and tutoring initiatives.
Studies show that students with mentors are more likely to graduate high school, have healthier relationships and lifestyles, go to college, and behave more responsibly in and out of school.
“[My mentor has] inspired me to do better, not just in school per se, but as I go into college. She’s motivated me to look at the different opportunities out there.”
-Karen, a high school mentee
United Way of Salt Lake and Women United partner with and support Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor 2.0 program. Students, particularly those who will be first-generation college students, are matched with adult mentors for the duration of their high school careers.
Mentors and mentees communicate weekly via email and meet monthly at the student’s school to talk about professionalism, perseverance, self-advocacy, college financial aid options, and career choices.
And mentorship doesn’t just help the students: many mentors say that experiencing the successes of their mentees every step of the way impacts them greatly, and that they learn so much about themselves through the mentorship experience.
“I was in a similar program to this when I was in high school,” said Erin, a mentor in the Mentor 2.0 program. “So, when I came across [the] United Way [opportunity] with work, I thought ‘that’s a perfect match for me’ and it was kind of this full circle moment that brought it all back 20 years later.”
Another mentor, Angelique, said she loves the bond she’s created with her mentee and feels like she’s learned so much herself from the program.
“The wisdom I want to impart is for her to be who she is because she’s so cool and I always love hanging out with her.”
Angelique’s mentee, Akaysia, said working with her mentor goes beyond achieving the goals she’s set for herself—even though they’re very important. Thanks to the mentorship she’s received, Akaysia has also worked through some hurdles that have held her back in the past.
“The most important thing that I’ve learned so far is just believe in myself. If I feel like I want to do it, then I should just be able to just achieve it. Don’t worry about the what-ifs or the buts or anything like that. Just go for it and do what I can to try and get my goals,” she said.
When you support our mentorship programs you ensure that more students receive guidance and support that can help them shape their futures. Donate during our virtual Power of Your Purse gala to help connect more students with the mentor and tutor support they need to succeed.
By Kelly Schmidt, Content Manager at United Way of Salt Lake