In 1997, television journalist Jennifer Valoppi and retired Telemundo Network President Don Browne set out to help young women become successful in the work place. Too many young women were not finishing high school, not going to college, and not becoming all that they could be. In college, Jennifer majored in psychology, which led her to discover that young women were limiting themselves in the work place and if they did become successful, they were not helping other women reach that same level of success.
With the help of her colleague Don Browne, who was also a long time supporter of women and minorities, they developed a program to help inspire, motivate and empower these at-risk young women to live up to their full potential. Their unique mentoring program was supported by highly accomplished professional women who would go to high schools and mentor these young at-risk women. They were also able to provide scholarship opportunities to continue their help after high school.
LeAnn Louis graduated from the School for Advanced Studies in 2011 and currently attends Georgetown University. She was awarded a scholarship from Women of Tomorrow to help pay for her schoolbooks.
She says, “By awarding me this book scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. I pray that at the end of my college career, I will be able to help young women achieve their goals and achieve a level of self-respect and esteem that comes as being a mentee in the mentorship program.”
Women of Tomorrow currently mentors approximately 3,500 at-risk girls in 183 public high schools in South Florida, Metropolitan Detroit and Greater Philadelphia. With a network of over 500 Mentors the program has been helping to guide these young women to better themselves and reach goals they thought to be impossible.
Diana Granados, a former mentee turned into a mentor is beyond thankful for the program. The program gave her the confidence to leave South Florida and peruse a Bachelors degree from UF, a Master’s at FIU, and now a PhD in Adult and Community Education at FAU.
She says, “By being surrounded by likeminded girls who wanted to do more with their lives, I was able to break out of my shell. By the time I was done with the program I was confident enough to leave South Florida and go study at the University of Florida. The program inspired me to want to help others. I mentor at Coconut Creek High School once a month now. Before the program I wouldn’t have thought to give back like that.”
Young women in the program have increased self-esteem, a 95% high school graduation rate, and increased academic performance each year that they are in the program. Women of Tomorrow has been able to successfully send over 1,400 of their mentees to college with scholarships to help pay for their education. Programs like Women of Tomorrow help to empower future generations of women to reach their full potential and become the successful women of tomorrow.