We plan to make our community our leaders, in order to do so we are creating a mentor program to assist young women and match them up with a mentor.
We are a group of young Latina women who have come together with the goal of improving the success of our community. To do so, we have created a mentorship program that gives our girls here at Bassett High School access to more resources in applying for college and also career prepping. Many of our students here at Bassett do not have parents who have graduated college, or who even had the ability to go to basic grade school. We know that our parents dream of seeing us thrive and we have our mentors ready to step in and guide us through all that is college and career planning. In doing so we are forming relationships that not only help academically but also socially, as networks and friendships form.
We made our plan based on the fixed ideology: it is more difficult for Latina students to get all the resources needed to successfully apply for financial aid and other college-related paperwork. Our project started around November, when we realized that a major issue in Latinx communities, like that of Bassett's, is the lack of help and empowerment for young Latinas to reach their fullest potentials. We had one goal in mind: create a strong bond between mentors and mentees so that our girls find comfort in having someone who can guide us through school difficulties, as they have gone through what we are preparing for. At Bassett, we allowed our junior senior girls to apply to be a mentee. Those that applied were asked about their future plans for college, where they’d like to go, what they’d like to study, and what they wanted to pursue for a career. We took this information into account when we paired them up with Bassett alumni who are either still going to college, already in their career, or working towards their careers, or women who have contacted interested in being a mentor. This way they would be paired based on their common interests in academics and careers. To make the best out of this project, we encourage the girls to contact their mentors with questions at least three times a month. Usually our mentees ask college and career-based questions, but of course there are bonds that have been created that surpass that of just education. Our mentees have formed relationships that resemble that of sisterhood.
On social media we have shown the productivity of our project. Our main account is on instagram as we found that there we have most active followers. Every month we hold social media challenges. We award and promote the successful ladies at Bassett high school as our Monarcas of the Month. Most significantly, every months we hold livestreams on instagram where we discuss topics, answer questions from the viewers, and most importantly, share our project and our first major project was our Girl Power Expo. For months we spent our meetings simply planning how we needed to execute the plan successfully. Each meeting we would assign certain objectives to achieve by the end of the week or by the next meeting; usually we would have our members contact speakers or colleges to find women who could come to our expo and participate as panelists. We had also met up to create girl power posters for our Expo, as well as goody bags for our panelist speakers and their moderators.
The expo date was set for March 9, 2018. In this event we gathered all of the girls at Bassett high school in our gym where our keynote speakers gave motivational, moving speeches. Our keynotes were famous singer Victoria LaMala, Ms. Debra French, Blanca Rubio, and Ms. Cate Tolani. We divided the girls at Bassett into 12 different groups for 12 different workshop: budgeting and financial planning, interview skills, college planning, public speaking, on the job skills/success, vision boards, career exploration, healthy relationships, nutrition, beauty and fashion, personal statements, and time management. At each workshop we had women ranging from Bassett alumni (now college students), to Google workers, attorneys, sheriffs, the mayor of La Puente, and so forth. Our workshop panelists had came from all sorts of different backgrounds, and so our expo was very inclusive and relatable for all of our girls.
Our next event was the Mother Daughter Tech Tea Party held on May 8. In this event we wished to connect to the generational gap of technological knowledge, and so we invited all girls from Bassett and their mothers or sister or grandparents for a nice moment for bonding. To make this event happen, the girls worked reluctantly to contact bakeries and other dessert places like Marie Callenders’ and La Monarca bakery to get donations of goods. Our girls were successful in doing so as we were given donations from several places. At our event we had certain activities that catalyzed stronger relationships between mothers and daughters. Such activities were quizzes about each other, arts and crafts, touch-and-guess if the person in front of you is your mother or daughter, and a sort of Q&A for the groups as a whole, both about life and technology. Overall the mothers and daughters alike were moved and felt that the event was successful. The mothers were exceptionally happy as many usually did not spend time like that with their daughters.
In the future we plan to expand our program to the male student body at Bassett as well. Our male peers have found great interest in having a mentor of their own. Next year we will be following the same process, with the inclusion of all genders. We also plan on creating a mentorship program for younger students in the district. We will be reaching out to the middle schools and the elementary schools. With that, the girls here at Bassett will be the mentors, in a big-sisterly kind of way. We believe that as young girls are slowly adapting to society as it is for teenage girls, we should be there to guide them on a road to self-love and confidence in their abilities to succeed. We are also proud to say that next year we will be partnering with the Gamma Iota Rose Gold Program to further develop our project.
Our project has inspired and motivated women in our community to work together to allow the generation of women to drive towards their careers. We had a very ambitious goal, to provide each of the girls at Bassett High School with knowledge and the pathway to moving in the right direction of their futures. We have seen from our Expo that these girls are having conversations with their parents about what lies ahead of them for their future. For the parents that had attended our Tea Party, we have seen the mothers feel extremely passionate and emotional about their child’s ambition and making their mark in the world. Our mothers were able to share the special bonds that they have with their daughters, whereas this might not have happened on any normal day. Many of our Alumni’s that had attended our Expo had informed us that they wished that this type of program was offered to them when they were in high school because it really does give the girls an opportunity to spread their wings and not be afraid to speak out for their futures. This was a chance for Latinas to be known as more than just housewives but educators and scholars in training to become our nation’s leaders.
From our mentor/mentee relationships, our mentees are able to have access to their very own personal counselor that could give them feedback and information on anything relating to college, career, and personal questions. The mentees were given mentors that have already had experience with college and so the mentors were able to provide the mentees with information about their interaction with adapting to the college life. The relationship between mentors and mentees would allow mentees to even be referenced by their mentors if they were trying to achieve an internship in a similar field. Our events had overal good effects on these young women and as a result we will see these women more prepared for life in general as we see that they will apply themselves after high school, and they will stand up forthwith futures.
Our program’s influences on these women can be seen by their diligence to ask questions and apply themselves. Following up our two events, from our interviews we had seen that these women had found our program to impact them and inspire them. Our Expo had allowed us to reach out to our community’s women leaders and our very own mayor of La Puente had seen the impact that we were making on inspiring the young women at Bassett High School. Our other pages prove our influence upon these young Latinas.
Over the past year, our girls have gone through endless work of reaching out and preparing for the best possible outcome for the girls at the school to be given an opportunity to have access to information about their futures and receive answers to the questions that might not easily be accessed to them by a parent or a counselor. We have created not only an Expo and provided them with valuable information, but also a new comforting bond between them and their mothers. We have also allowed this website to be a one-stop place for girls to view information on college and empower them to plan out their own future. We had seen that having a mentor is something everyone should have access to, which is why we decided to become mentors to the younger generations that are entering high school; and furthermore to expand our program to the men, as we had seen that they had wanted the same opportunities that the girls at Bassett were receiving.
Planning Our Expo
Who we contacted: In order to achieve our panelist of strong, empowering women for each workshop, we each came into contact with colleges such as UCI, UCR, UCLA, and Rio Hondo to request female leaders to speak about topics such as financial planning, college planning, etc. We had also requested a few of Bassett’s very own successful leaders such as female teachers and even a few of our very mentors to take part in some of our workshops. Why: We chose to contact these females because we felt that these girls needed strong women that would be good influences and someone that these girls would listen to and look up to. Set Up: We set up our Expo in the gym where we had known we could easily fit every girl in Bassett High School, and we set up chairs at for our Panelists and guest speakers to sit and listen to the introduction. We came in on a Saturday to create girl power posters that we hung up around the gym on the day of our Expo. Each panelist, guest speaker, and moderator received a goody bag that we set up on a table. When the Bassett girls entered the gym, they immediately went to the long tables where we had name tags of each girl in the school, Latinas Unidas pins, and also a paper that would state where each workshop would be held and where the girls would go. On the Bassett girls name tags, had their listed workshops that they would be attending (workshop 1, 2, 3, etc.). Our workshops were set up so that panelists could sit in front of the group of girls and have their discussion/ achieve their activity. We provided access to a projector if the panelists wished to show their workshop a slideshow. Who Attended: Every girl that attended Bassett High School has attended our Expo, among with our panelist speakers and their moderators. Panelists
Megan Joanis,BHS Alumni, City of Hope
Jode Howard, Personnel Director
Thais Moreno, Supervisor for Social Workers
Viviana Altamirano-Think Together Program Associate
Jocelyn Roman-BHS Alumni, CSUN Journalism Grad
Mylyna Hy, BHS Alumni, UCI attendee
Siobahn Skerritt-Student Rights and Responsibilties, Whittier College
Ilona Bodnar, USC Major Tech for Artists, Co-Founder Athena Hacks (female-hack-a-thon)
Miriam Morgutia-Social Worker, BHS Alumni
Pamela Sanchez-CSUDH attendee, BHS Alumni
Felicia Schonlaub-Entrepreneur, BHS Alumni
Alexandra Escobar-Athletic Trainer
Norma Meza-Health Analyst
Diana Ramirez-Beltran Ed Services Manager Kaiser
Jennifer Prasad, Teacher
Deputy Yvette Mattes
Lolbette Moreno-Art Teacher
Britney Coleman-Indigo Cosmetics
Coleman Sisters-Founders Indigo Cosmetics
Kimberly Welch-C2 Education and UCLA Doctoral Candidate
Website: $115 Shirts:$400- The shirts were bought for the team and mentees, we ordered extras for gifts and prizes at the expo and for challenges. Pins: $80- The pins were used as a gift towards the monarcas of the month and in the thank you bags we gave out towards our guests who helped put our expo together. Food: $134.77- Expo: $268.23- The money used on the expo was for the thank you cards, thank you baggies, food (subway) etc Mother Daughter Tea Tech Talk-$200 on Monarca bakery Stickers:$82.76- Stickers are giveaway prizes for the winners of our challenges on insta gram we also pass them out randomly to get our name out. 3D butterflys: $10.99- 3D butterflies were used as decoration for our tables during our two events. Wings: $11.95- Wings were ordered to take pictures as we challenged the girls to post pictures with them on instagram and use the hashtag #latinasunidas. Name badges:$16.38- Name badges were ordered for all the girls at Bassett which indicated what sessions they were going to during the expo. Overall budget: $1,319.85