When I started as Pittsburgh Program Manager this past January, I was asked about the aspect of SWSG work to which I would most look forward. After learning that “everything” served as an unsatisfactory—yet very truthful—non-answer, without hesitation I brought up the opportunity to work closely with student leaders. There is a certain level of energy, enthusiasm, and passion in this population that is hard to find elsewhere; and here in Pittsburgh, the fabulous work of our SWSG mentors is truly something to celebrate.
These women are selfless with their time. They juggle classes, schoolwork, career and grad school preparation, part-time jobs, athletics, other leadership positions and numerous other volunteer commitments with their SWSG responsibilities…yet they remain fully committed to their mentoring duties, bringing their fullest manifestations of warmth, poise and spunk to their interactions with the girls.
They are educators, motivators and facilitators. On a weekly basis, they implement research-based curriculum and activities in a fun, engaging manner to what are often large groups of very high-energy girls. They channel their own creativity to relate lessons covering the biographies of strong women in history, pointing out connections to the mentees as individuals—and truly bringing the women in the texts to life in a manner that is easily understood and appreciated by the girls.
They emanate professionalism. They contribute their talents and expertise to SWSG as fundraisers, budgeters, project managers, grant writers, and event planners. They are ambassadors and diplomats, acting as SWSG representatives to parents of the girls they serve, community site staff members, university administrators, and their on-campus communities.
They may be thought of as mini-community organizers, engaging the girls they mentor in service projects, developing the girls’ confidence and leadership potential, and working to broaden SWSG’s reach in the girls’ neighborhoods.
They are invested for the long term. Numerous mentors have continued their involvement with SWSG long after their college graduation dates have passed, returning as strong alumnae in fundraising roles, in community site visitor positions, as site aides, and as trainers.
They are the paragon of what it means to be Strong Women…and we are so fortunate to have them!