I’m Analourdes Aguilar Gonzalez, but everybody knows me as Lou Aguilar, the new fall intern at SWSG. I’m going to be working closely with Pittsburgh Program Manager Jessica Tirado to implement excellent programming. I’m very excited to be a new member of SWSG!
The reason that I wanted to join SWSG stems from Guatemala, my home country, where I volunteered with several different organizations. One of the last organizations I worked with was “Las Enredas,” a rising community-development and gender-justice association with which I worked with for 4 months. During that time, I learned a great deal about gender issues in Guatemala and around the world. With this new knowledge, I decided I wanted to do something to help. Lucky for me, I found out about SWSG, which empowers women and girls through mentoring.
At the beginning, I wondered a lot about the organization and how their mentoring model works. I had a lot of questions; How often do the college women mentor? How do they work with the girls? How do they communicate with the girls? How do they become mentors? What makes a mentor…? I felt like I had the whole list of questions running through my head. But everything became clear at the fall training which, by the way, was my first day as an intern, too! It was a great first day. I learned first-hand how SWSG operates!
During the training, a lot of my questions were answered. I witnessed how returning and new mentors received proper training to assure excellence in all of SWSG program sites. I was in charge of taking pictures, running from room to room. While doing this, I would listen to each of the trainers share their knowledge with the mentors. This is where most of my questions were answered. I learned how often programs occur, I learned of different workshops and activities the mentors do with the girls like “Get Active” with “Little Sally Walker,” and so many other things.
But I still had one more question to be answered… What makes a mentor?  I started to realize that all of these returning and new mentors were positive, energetic, smart, empowered individuals and most importantly: strong women themselves!  It was a great experience! The training was a success and all the volunteers left happy, empowered, feeling strong… proud and not afraid of shouting it out loud!