Mentoring Latinas

Mentoring Latinas says Adios!

GSS Mentoring Latinas

The Mentoring Latinas program, or Club Amigas as the members called it, has officially ended.

The program began on the Fordham Marymount campus in Westchester in 2003 and was started by Dr. Ellen Silber, a Marymount professor of Women’s Studies. Drs. Sandra Turner and Carol Kaplan were involved as trainers of the mentors from the beginning. Dr. Turner went on the become the director of the program starting in 2015. Marymount closed in 2007 and the Program was incorporated into GSS as part of the Institute for Women and Girls.

The goal of Club Amigas was to promote the growth, development and positive Latina identification of middle and high school girls.

Over the 20 years of its operation, the Mentoring Latinas served over 440 Latina students from the Thomas Giordano Middle School and Belmont Preparatory High School in the Bronx.

While the initial goals of the program were to increase the growth of self-esteem and academic achievement of the middle and high school girls, we soon became aware of the positive effects the mentoring relationship was having on the Fordham college mentors, who were also Latinas. Their leadership skills, self-confidence, and motivation to continue on to graduate study grew over the years!

Each mentor was paired with one or two mentees for the school year and they met each week with their mentors. The core components of the program were emotional and academic support as well as various trips such as to the Bronx Zoo, the Botanical Garden, bowling, movies and the theater.

A dinner for the mentees, mentors and their families was the highlight of the end of each program year!

During the COVID pandemic when the girls and their mentors could not meet in person didactic trainings and activities that focused on various aspects of adolescent identity development, skill acquisition and provision of information about the college application process, financial aid and possible majors were conducted online.

The program was formally evaluated for many years using quantitative methods as well as focus groups and qualitative questionnaires.

Each year the mentees reported that their positive sense of Latina identity and self-esteem increased, as well as for many, grades improved. In 2023, the last year that Club Amigas was in operation, all of the mentees were accepted into 4-year colleges!

The program was generously supported by AT&T for 15 years. Dean Maura Mast was also a great supporter. Drs. Abby Ross and Thalia McMillan conducted the year-end evaluations. In the final year of the program Dr. Jenn Lilly was also involved.

The final graduation of Club Amigas was in May, 2023.

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