Hometown Hero Spotlight on Rajkumari Thakur – Women’s Mentoring Network Volunteer
Empowering Women with Sisters Village E4 – Women’s Mentoring Network partners with the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester and the Westchester County Office for Women
Joanne and her family have been part of Women’s Mentoring Network for many years. Joanne participated in the First Generation Achievement Program with her younger brother and sister. The First Generation Achievement Program helps students prepare to reach their goals for after high school. When I first met Joanne, it was a few weeks after I started working at Women’s Mentoring Network. Joanne was picked to speak about Women’s Mentoring Network on a television show that aired in Manhattan.
There were only a few things that I knew about Joanne at the time, and one of them was that she was very shy and the other was that she did not enjoy public speaking. But, when she had the opportunity to talk about her experiences with Women’s Mentoring Network, she truly lit up.
Joanne always knew that she wanted to be in the law industry. Women’s Mentoring Network helped Joanne with her college search and college application process. Joanne ended up attending and graduating from Quinnipiac College with a degree in Political Science. She even did an internship in Washington, D.C. Once Joanne graduated from college, Women’s Mentoring Network helped her update her resume and search for a job. She was also encouraged to create a LinkedIn profile. Joanne was ultimately contacted through LinkedIn where she secured a job as a Court Clerk in New York City.
Joanne is considering pursuing a law degree, but for now she is happy to gain the experience that will bring her to the next level of her life. Recently, Joanne was a keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Women’s Mentoring Network. Everyone was so impressed with her presentation. Joanne continues to come into the office for advice. She even volunteers with Women’s Mentoring Network when she has free time.
When we first met Cheryl, she just got out of a local homeless shelter. She did find work as a Home Health Aide, but she soon realized that her hours were never reliable, and therefore, she was unable to pay her rent. Also, since the position was not full-time Cheryl did not receive health benefit, so she lived without healthcare coverage. Cheryl ended up living with friends for quite a while. Cheryl initially came to us to receive food from our Food Pantry. She also attended our Life Skills Workshops, which focus on educating clients on the topics of Workforce Development and Financial Literacy.
Once Cheryl began working one-on-one with Women’s Mentoring Network, we were able to provide her with a solid, presentable resume. We helped her with setting up a new email so that she would have the ability to have potential employers contact her. And we helped her search for a job in a field that she was interested in pursuing- the childcare industry. She always wanted to work with children and be a Child Care Provider. We helped Cheryl apply for one job, and one job only. After her first interview, she was immediately offered the job. When she found out what they wanted to pay her, we suggested that she go back and negotiate a higher salary. They ended up compromising in the middle. And since the job was full-time, they offered her benefits. With our help, Cheryl transitioned into a new job that she really enjoys. And not only that, Cheryl has been on the job for over six months. Cheryl now lives in her own apartment. And she has health benefits.
To Kalisa, her mentor was a major part of the changes that she has made in her life. Kalisa was shy and quiet when we first met her. She was working in retail for over eight years and was never promoted. Her weekly hours were never guaranteed and she often ended up working a late night shift to close the store. Kalisa was living paycheck-to-paycheck with no financial relief in sight and no balance to her life. After attending our Life Skills Workshops and working with a mentor from Women’s Mentoring Network, Kalisa was able to secure a full-time job, set hours and benefits. Kalisa also now receives the respect that she always deserved. The company she works for is investing in her by providing her with training that will help her move ahead in her position. We know that Kalisa would have never made these changes in her life without the services and programs provided by Women’s Mentoring Network and, most importantly, the support of a strong mentor.
These are just a few of our success stories. And as you can see, our work will continue with each of these women. We will continue to follow the story of Cheryl and Joanne as they progress through their careers and their life journey.