April 9 through April 13, was very busy for 40 New York college and high school students who participated in the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women’s Role Model Program.
The mentoring program provided students the opportunity to network and to observe “shadow” mentors in diverse and extensive disciplines; students were paired with mentors based on career interests. Students also participated in a series of workshops which focused on work ethics, social media, dressing and grooming, dining etiquette and money management.
This year marked the 33rd year of the program, which was started at the Spelman College in 1979 and subsequently moved to New York City in 1982. Participants came from City College, Queens College, York College, LaGuardia Community College and Bronx Community College, of the City University of New York, as well as high schools in Brooklyn and Queens.
L’Oreal USA, the corporate sponsor of the program for the last 14 years, provided $15,000 which the Coalition used to award grants and scholarship for this year’s participants. The first, second and third place scholarship recipients were Mia Savage, Isseu Ndao and Amber Taylor, respectively. Fione Browne received The Evelyn Payne Davis Award.
Coalition President Avalyn P. Simon in her closing remarks to the young women encouraged them to take the lessons of the week and use them to transform their lives. “Step outside your comfort zone; prepare yourselves for opportunities that will come; the road is not always straight, there will be bends and turns; make failure you lessons; ignite the fire of success within yourself and keep it burning,” she said.
“This is a great opportunity for these young women most of whom come to us about to graduate college or high school still unsure of themselves and with no clear roadmap to achieve the goals they have set for their future. Meeting, shadowing and learning from their mentors and participating in the intense workshops allow them to become more focused and better able to define the path to achieve their goals,” said Simon.
The president said that the coalition was extremely proud of the program and its impact on the lives of young women. Since the inception more than 1,500 young women have participated.