The Lead Program
Facilitator: Claudia Greenwood
See Photos from the summer 2015 LEAD luncheon
Last January, when the Yavapai College administrators were searching for solutions to the problem of student retention through a program that would bridge the summer between high school and fall admission to college, they came upon the AAUW national website and discovered the community action program, “Young Women in the Lead.” The fact that Prescott AAUW had been involved in mentoring programs for women and girls on the campus for over 10 years resulted in a call to Patti Blackwood seeking support.
Prescott’s community action committee then wrote a statement of commitment in support of a proposed grant: “To participate in the summer bridge program would extend the positive influence AAUW members initiate through the Sister-to-Sister program. To serve as role models in this additional program, we would, once again, advance our mission.”
The college received the grant, and on May 31 at a barbecue on campus, many Prescott AAUW members met the young women who would participate in the 8-week summer program designed to help them overcome the challenges of entering and staying in college. As this was a new experience for all involved (Yavapai College, AAUW, and the students), it challenged everyone. As time went on and kinks were straightened out, however, comfortable relationships took hold that served the students well.
One AAUW mentor reported that her student was at first quite apprehensive, but gained the confidence to negotiate college successfully. “I believe that our visits have contributed to that confidence.” Another AAUW mentor wrote that she enjoyed having the opportunity to encourage a young woman to prepare herself for “a productive life and career” and for giving her reasons to complete her education. We have not yet seen the student evaluations or had a debriefing with the college advisors to the program, but most agree that The Lead program was a success. Some of our members will keep in touch with the students. Their extended contact will provide additional insight into the benefits of our participation.
Many thanks to those who participated. Our being asked to do so acknowledges the importance of having a deep well of role models for the young women in our community. The fact that members made the commitment during the summer speaks not only to their passion for the success of young women, but also their generosity. Prescott’s AAUW is the association of ACCOMPLISHED, UNSELFISH women!
Summer program coordinators: Mary Bauer, Donna Gaddy, and Claudia Greenwood