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Social Change Partner: SPEAK Mentorship

In a few short sentences, what does your non-profit do?

The mission of SPEAK is to Support, Prepare, and Empower Aspiring Kids. Our programs provide support and soft and hard skills to girls who are immigrants and first- generation American citizens as they prepare to transition from high school to college, including helping them look into colleges, courses of study, and potential college-to-career pathways. We want to help each girl make the best decision for herself.

What need do you fulfill and why is your organization unique?

We need mentors who give 1 – 2 hours of their time every week to meet with their mentee for a duration of 3 months. Mentors are women in different fields, who can provide more insight about what it is that they do at their work, how they got to where they are, any struggles they had to overcome to get to where they are–they provide the mentee with a clearer and more direct path from high school to career. We understand that mentees and mentors have busy and hectic schedules, and, therefore mentees and mentors meet once in person every month, and have the option of meeting virtually the other weeks of each month.

We also need speakers for our Speaker Series. Speakers are women who speak every month either through a monthly webinar or physically at schools where the SPEAK Mentorship program is being offered. Monthly topics address skills important to developing and empowering young girls, and we know that these ‘talks’ by inspiring professional women who utilize these skills in their day to day at work will be a powerful display of the importance of mastering these skills.

These two programs alone truly make our organization unique because we develop the necessary skills to develop young girls into future leaders–professional women who have a clear vision of who they are. Empowering these young girls while still in high school by providing them with a clearer path towards careers they are passionate about can have profound effects on society as they fulfill roles in professions with the skill set necessary to reach great heights.

What do you think was the happiest moment for your organization?

We are still young but we have received such great responses from people, such that people have asked us if and when we were going to expand to their city. We definitely plan to expand operations to other cities in the coming years, and love that our mission has resonated with so many people. Empower a girl and watch how she changes the world for the better.

What was/is the largest obstacle your organization faced/faces?

At the moment, we are seeking funding through grants we will be applying for, a GoFundMe campaign, and individual contributions through PayPal directly on our website. We want to provide the best service not just to our mentees, but to all girls who attend meetings at a cooperating school, who attend webinars and events, and, for this to happen, we require funding.

What are the future plans for your organization?

Our immediate plans for the future are to focus on our first cohort of mentees, and also to provide the best speakers in our SPEAKER SERIES and to collect stories from mentees and mentors to be shared on our website, as we believe in the power of storytelling and want to build this social network of women speaking out about similar and cross-generational issues. We hope for a successful year, and to learn and grow as we plan to expand operations to other cities in the coming years.

How can our readers help you further your mission?

Readers can contribute in many ways.

We are always looking to add to our mentor pool so that we can match mentees with mentors in careers of interest listed by the mentees in their application.

We are still seeking speakers for our Speaker Series, and would love to hear from women who can speak to topics such as “Summer Jobs and Internships” or “Self-Management”.

Readers can also share their stories on our social network. Stories speak to cultural issues that may have led to limited career choices or choosing a certain pathway over another. We want to show young girls that these issues they may face are cross-generational and, with this awareness, hope young girls will be able to overcome similar hurdles more easily.

Finally, readers can help by donating. Even the smallest contribution from each reader can help us focus on what is important, and that is to deliver the highest quality programs.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Any recent articles, videos, or information that would help us learn more about you?



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