As a part of the Women’s Resource Center’s Women’s Initiatives, the Young Women Leaders Program is accepting applications for its third full year as a mentoring program that links college women to girls in junior high school.
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Christiana Datubo-Brown is a graduate facilitator that has overseen the Young Women Leaders Program since it began in spring 2010.
“I always tell people, if you want some experience becoming a leader inside and outside of school, if you want mentoring experience with adolescents or if being a mentor is something you want to do in the future, this is a great program for you,” Datubo-Brown said. “There are so many opportunities.”
The Young Women Leaders Program started as a mentoring program for junior high school girls, also known as little sisters, with the help of Auburn University female students acting as big sisters.
The program was designed not only to act as a mentoring program, but was also created on the vision to help young girls see their importance and become leaders that will reach their full potential.
Since this is a yearlong program, most applicants are in their sophomore or junior year of college and remain dedicated to the time-intensive program. Auburn students earn five credit hours toward a human development and family studies major, women’s studies major or an elective after completing the program, which includes three hours in the fall and two in the spring.
The process begins with a simple application, two letters of recommendation and a background check. Once this is completed, the staff selects Auburn students they believe are ready, students that will remain committed to the program and students that have the right qualities to become a mentor.
The program begins in the fall with an academic class that meets for one hour. This class assesses the availabilities of the big sister so they can be placed in the right school and then assigned their little sister.
The first course teaches big sisters how to build a mentoring relationship and to have the tools to build that relationship. It also explains the pitfalls of being a mentor and how to successfully deal with those problems.
The second course gives big sisters an opportunity to present a set of curriculum to their little sisters. The curriculum is given to them in class on a weekly basis, and they must present it to their little sister in a fun way, both one-on-one and in a group setting. The curriculum covers topics such as bullying, social aggression, how to make academic and personal goals, healthy relationships and how to be fit.
This is a hands-on experience, and Datubo-Brown describes it as “learning one day and doing the next.”
Although being a big sister may seem intimidating, they do not have to handle any situation on their own and have support from the staff and teachers.
“It’s great to see how the big sisters have grown throughout the year and figure out what they want to do in their future,” Datubo-Brown said.
For more information, or, to apply for the Young Women Leaders Program, visit https://cws.auburn.edu/wrc/cm/YWLP