West Palm Beach, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Though they call themselves the women of tomorrow, they believe they need to start mentoring girls right now — not only through education, but in life.
Ask almost any woman to remember some rough patches during her teenage years and you’re more likely to hear a groan or two. For Nathalie Mora, it was a really tough time.
“Before ‘Women of Tomorrow’ I was doing really bad in school, I was constantly getting into fights, my grades were terrible and I was skipping,” Mora told Ivanhoe. “I don’t even know how I passed and in my home life I had to deal with physical abuse, drug abuse and my parents wanted to get a divorce because of all the issues we were having.”
But lucky for Mora, Jennifer Valoppi came into her life with hope and a non-profit group she founded in 1997.
"’Women of Tomorrow’ is a group of highly accomplished professional women who mentor small groups of at-risk young girls in our public high schools and then we help them get college scholarships,” Valoppi, “Women of Tomorrow” founder said. “The idea is that we inspire them to have a dream and then we give them the resources to live up to those dreams."
The four-year program costs about $2,000 for each student. It’s an investment Valoppi insists is worth every penny. The key elements include working on self-esteem and conflict resolution, as well as career-focused field trips and college campus visits.
“’Women of Tomorrow’ has a 95 percent high school graduation rate among at-risk group of girls,” Valoppi said. “The grades of our girls go up every year they’re in the program and the vast majority go on to college.”
Women of tomorrow has distributed more than 4.8 million dollars in scholarships and worked with 11,000 girls.
“Since joining ‘Women of Tomorrow’ my grades went up and I got a four year scholarship,” Mora said. “That was a very emotional time for me but now I’m in college! I never thought I was going to make it but I’m here and I’m studying to be a vet. I really want to be a veterinarian.”
Making Mora’s dream come true will make Valoppi’s vision a reality!
“Women of Tomorrow” currently has more than 500 mentors in 193 schools. For more information on it and what cities they operate in, you can visit their website at http://womenoftomorrow.org/.
Contributors to this news report include: Carlton Smith, Field Producer; Amber Sumpter, News Assistant; Denis Dominguez, Videographer and Brent Sucher, Editor.