My life right is made up of mostly school and school. Thrown in is food and sleep. And that is how it should be for someone in their 3rd year of university. Im completely okay with this. But one activity that does help to take the ease off school, no matter how stressful, is the organization Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, WYSE. It is a national curriculum-based mentoring program for college-aged women and 6-8th grade middle school girls. These girls are normally at-risk and need guidance to help keep them on track. We work at a school that is 99% latino, a charter school. Even though the school we work with is really great, with great teachers, administration, and building, the girls do come to us willingly looking for that extra help and mentoring. Currently, we have over 50 mentees (almost 50% of the female population). The program is once a week at the middle school, where we use a curriculum to address major topics. When I say curriculum, I am refering to having a set topic each week that we base all of our activities off of. This week is focused on personal identity, where we will have 3 activities that all allow the girls to get to know their fellow mentees and mentors a bit better and also allow themselves to learn more about who they are. Other topics include: politics of motherhood, STDs, healthy living, and so on. So, we dont just sit there idly for 2 hours and hope that we can think of something to do, nor do we ever help them with homework, we are not there to be teachers or parents, but to be mentors. At the end of the year, we have a grand 'ol banquet, last year I was in charge of the event. All the girls and their parents were invited for a chic night at our university. We served a large dinner, showed a slideshow of what we did the past year, handed out awards and certification of completion, and really got to know our girls better. Im again in charge of the banquet for this year, and already in gear to start planning (its in April!).
Not only am I chair of banquet, but I am a director of the program. I hold the position of Community Director. I have direct contact between the middle school and their administration. I also handle all attendance for mentees and mentors. It ends up being a lot of work, 3 WYSE meetings a week, over 20 hours committed some weeks. But it is worth it. I have loved every minute I've been apart of the group. I've gotten to know some of the most amazing women on my campus and also learned more about myself. My mentee is the most adorable girl in the world, now a big bad 7th grader, we will graduate the same year. She is quite shy, but has a spunk to her that reminds me a bit of myself. I can't wait to get to know her even more this year.
These cupcakes were made for our after-training party. One Saturday last month, we spent a good 5 hours speaking to all of our new mentors (25) about the experience they will have and how to handle all the hardships that will arise. It is difficult to realize that even though these girls are amazing and strong, all women have experiences that are traumatic. So hopefully, our mentors are ready to take on any scary situation. The dinner was at another director's apartment. About 12 girls were in attendance. We served, garlic bread, salad, and pasta marinara (my suggestion ;) ) and I supplied these cupcakes for desert. The first is the ever so famous Cookies n' Cream recipe from VCToW. I had wanted to make these forever, but never had the cookies for it. These babies were so moist and chocolatey, I had trouble limiting myself to only one while I was baking. The cupcake on the right is what I call "Spiced Chocolate" Cupcakes. The major difference is in this chocolate batter there is red chili pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. They are topped with the same luscious white frosting (also of VCToW) and sprinkled with even more red chili powder.
Let me tell you, the girls at the party went first for the Spiced Chocolates. I was very surprised since most people dont relate spicy to chocolate, but chilis and chocolate were made for each other. Everyone thought they were so delicious and also really moist. They were really surprised when they found out they were vegan. So I think I did my job.