An Exodus graduate, Vianelly is a perfect example of the exponential power of mentoring. For years, she was mentored through the Exodus after school and Saturday programs. When she reached high school, Exodus networked with World Vision so Vianelly could join their leadership development program. It was there she met her best friend, Rubeisy. Now, they are teaming up to mentor the next generation of young Latina girls.
Soon to be college graduates, Vianelly and Rubeisy are already embarking on achieving their dreams, by mentoring Latina high school students through a six-week program they have designed themselves.
Getting to and through college is no easy feat for any young adult, but it is especially challenging for young Latino men and women. The reasons for this are complex, and often involve family and Latino culture, fear of financial burden, or a lack of confidence.
Vianelly and Rubeisy know full well what it takes to be the first in your family to obtain a college degree. Now, they want to pass what they have learned on to a new crop of students through their partnership called “Phenomenal Women: Latina.”
The Phenomenal curriculum has been perfectly tailored to appeal to 10th and 11th grade Latina girls, with sessions on fitness, and fashion, but also financial aid, the college selection and application process, and much more. Journaling sessions will teach these young girls how to identify and express what they are feeling. This process is meant to help students understand that it’s okay to be anxious about new challenges, or how to ask for help if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Our mission is to connect and educate to empower first generation high school Latinas in Washington Heights and Inwood.
Phenomenal Women: Latina takes a peer-to-peer approach to mentoring, a method which is showing promising results. In one study conducted on peer mentoring, students participating showed increased empathy, improved moral reasoning and better conflict resolution skills. Known as the five C’s: competence, confidence, connection, character and caring, these are the tools that will serve a college-bound student well.
Vianelly and Rubeisy both had strong mentors growing up, and are now practicing peer-to-peer mentoring with each other, as they launch this new initiative. “She’s so good at pushing me to set goals and then outline the steps to get there,” says Vianelly “And me? I am the optimistic one. On days when Rubeisy is not sure about the future, I stay super positive and encourage her that we can do this.”
Through its series of workshops for high school girls,“Phenomenal Women: Latina,” will be helping young Latinas in Washington Heights develop the mindset and tools they need to attend college and obtain a degree. These will be Phenomenal Women, indeed.