Do you remember when you first knew that you could go to college? Maybe your parents talked to you about it, or a counselor spoke about it at school. For me, it was at my first Strong Women, Strong Girls field trip to Harvard University that I realized I could go to college too.
16 years ago, I signed up at the Mason Pilot Elementary School in Roxbury to be part of Strong Women, Strong Girls because I was often teased for my love of reading and learning. My college mentors taught me how to leverage that love of learning to become a stronger girl. With the other girls in my group we talked about challenges at school, learned about strong female role models, practiced leadership skills, and got to know ourselves even better.

Then, our mentors took us on a field trip to Harvard’s campus. As we explored classrooms and met professors I thought to myself, “Wow, I could go to a school like this, and be like my mentors too?!” College seemed like such a far-fetched dream, but my mentors helped me realize it was achievable. From that moment on I was like an unstoppable force, moving forward through school with a clear goal: to attend college.
In 2012, I achieved that dream by joining the incredible community at Tufts University. Eager to find opportunities to give back, I got involved with the Tufts SWSG Chapter. For two years I mentored at Gene Mack Boys and Girls Club in Medford and Prospect Hill Academy in Somerville, helping girls realize their inner strengths just like my college mentors had done for me. SWSG supported my professional development too, connecting me with professional women in Boston who helped me navigate various challenges as I prepared for my future.

I’ve taken everything I learned in my time with SWSG — my confidence, connection to the society, and sense of agency, and wove it into my career working on economic development right here in Boston. This same passion inspired me to become a Board Member at SWSG. Now, I get to help guide our strategic vision for Boston and beyond into new communities of girls and women.
For me, it is incredibly important to lift up other girls and women as I climb my own ladder of success. I hope you will join me in that climb by donating to Strong Women, Strong Girls this year. Together, it is our goal to raise $30,000 to support hundreds of girls and college women in 2019. By donating to SWSG, you’ll be a part of a thriving community in Boston making sure that girls and women have all the resources they need to pursue their dreams. You can donate by clicking here. 

Thank you so much for all that you have done to support girls like me and SWSG.
Marynee Pontes
SWSG Girl Alum, Former Mentor, and Board Member