Sisters United: Mentorship Program for Black Female Students in Fifth Year.

Mentorship is an important part of my way of paying it forward.  Last year, I was invited to attend the Sisters United Networking Event, and met so many lovely and intelligent young women.   It was an amazing experience and I could not help wonder, where are all of the mentors?   Okay, I am going to get on my soapbox for a moment.  After all this is my blog and I am able to go off on a tangent from time to time. The problem, many of us, graduate from a University and take off to make big money in the world and never think twice about giving back.  I am a different breed. My parents were sharecroppers and were unable to attend school. Why? They had to work in the fields.   I was a little girl when they told me that they had to drop out of school to help out in the fields.  I remember feeling an incredible sense of sadness.   They went on to tell me to go to school and to do well.  I took their words to heart . I finished high school in 1968 . I got married the next year, however I never lost the desire to become educated.   My ex husband was a Marine, and as we moved from base to base, I went to school.  In 1980,  I earned my AA Degree..   Ten years later, with one child in the Navy, and one in High School. I returned to Cal State Dominguez Hills and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Service.  I continued to USC and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. I will never forget my first day of class at SC.  I was so intimidated because I felt so out of place.  My fellow classmates all had parent’s, friends, brother, or sisters that had attended graduate school.  They were in their twenties and I was in my forties.  I had to work, pray, and study twice as hard.  I felt as though  there were no mentors to guide me.  I felt lost and alone.  Thank God for the wonderful  and supportive USC faculty and staff members all whom were my mentors.   For example, Dean Caple, (now Dr. Caple)  was my mentor, and my angel.  I remembering crying to her about feeling so out of place.  She gave me that “sista look”, and reminded me that I was accepted into the program because I was qualified to complete the graduate program!!!   My professors and field instructors also were great mentors as well.  I was fortunate to work for Dr. Bob Nishimoto and Amelia Roberts both excellent mentors as well. Moreover, I made a committment to God, if he would allow me to finish the Graduate Program, I promised to give back to others students.  Since 1996 , I have kept that promise.  I am an active member of USC School of Social Work Alumni Association and Cal State Dominguez Hills.  I also have been a member of the USC Black Alumni Association. There are so many young people that are in  need of mentors.  There are many older returning students that need guidance and support.  It is very troubling to me that so few people are willing to take the time to support their Alumni Associations.   I personally feel that to much is given much is required.  Therefore, it has been a blessing to me to give back to my school and to support those that are entering school for the very first time.  Many like myself are first generation college students.  We need to seriously take the time to reach back and grab another person by the hand.   It really does not take that much time.    For me, it has been a blessing to give back to others.  The reward of seeing someone make it because I  took the time out to help support them is priceless!!!!!! I