One of my resolutions for 2012 was to put my time and energy into a cause I believe in. A few months ago I started volunteering as a mentor to a group of assigned middle school girls for a non-profit organization called EmpowHer Institute.
EmpowHer’s goal is to reduce the high school dropout rate for low-income middle and high school girls who are at risk of educational failure due to teen pregnancy, truancy, and juvenile delinquency. The strategy is to:
- provide sisterhood through mentoring
- give relevant training like choice and decision-making skills
- demonstrate resiliency as a means to overcome poverty
- help young women meaningfully serve their communities
Grim statistics from 2009 show that pregnancy is the number one reason for the female drop out rate. More than 40% of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s black students and 35% of Latino students will not complete high school. Those numbers are much higher in the low-income communities, which are served by EmpowHer. Armed with this information, the organization designed a program that addresses these issues.
EmpowHer girls learn respect and develop self-confidence, attain life skills such as health and hygiene, and are taught goal setting and the importance of making good choices. They are nurtured and encouraged to learn. The program’s purpose is to inspire the girls to dream big for their own future and discover the power of education. This is accomplished through specific class curriculum, cultural exposure through learning field trips, and mentoring.
Mentoring has given me an appreciation for my own acquired knowledge and desire to share my hard-won wisdom. I absolutely love it and truly had no idea how much I would enjoy the students. I am astounded by their foresight, tenacity, inquisitive minds and sweet nature. The benevolent spirit and energy of the girls is contagious. These 13 and 14 years old rising stars are bright-eyed, smart and ambitious. It is satisfying to know we are influencing them at a time in their life when habits and outside influence weigh so much in how they will proceed in the world.
Wont you help me make a difference? Click here to donate to this worthy organization. It doesn’t take much to make an impact. If you donate just in terms of what you spend at Starbucks coffee, say the amount you would pay for a venti sugar-free vanilla Earl Grey tea latte with soy (about $5 or $10 if you’re like me and buy 2), you will help fund a program that gives hope and opportunity to an underprivileged Los Angeles girl. The impact is immeasurable, but we need your help…
For more information about EmpowHer Institute click here.
For information on being an EmpowHer mentor and other volunteer opportunities, click here.
Find EmpowHer on Facebook here.
Gandhi famously said, Be the change you wish to see in the world. Live it. Thank you. xo Dre
P.S. How are you serving in your community? Go to volunteermatch.org to find a cause you can get behind.