Sister to Sister to help first-time-in-college women of color
The Student Counseling Center and the Palm Beach State College Chapter of the National Council on Black American Affairs are partnering to launch a mentoring program for first-time-in-college women of color.
The Sister to Sister project is being funded with a $4,200 mini grant the College received from BeWellPBC, a countywide behavioral health initiative engaging residents, providers and systems to advance behavioral health and wellness. Only 13 inaugural grants were awarded out of more than 100 applications from residents, nonprofit organizations, the faith community and schools with ideas to build more equitable and inclusive behavioral health support, promote workforce wellness and focus on residents most in need.
Fifty PBSC female students of color will be paired with mentors, including faculty, staff and alumni, who will provide support and encouragement to complete their first academic year. To qualify, participants must have a high school grade point average of 2.0 to 2.5. Plans are to host a kickoff tea ceremony and a cultural expo as the culminating event. During the year, the students will participate in a series of seminars on financial planning, nutrition, wellness and mental health. Each student will receive a planner and a T-shirt. At the culminating event, a certificate and a gift card will be awarded for their participation.
Sherry Fletcher, student development advisor II on the Boca Raton campus and second vice president of NCBAA, said she had a desire to start a mentoring program, so when she learned of the BeWellPBC grant, she encouraged NCBAA to partner with the Student Counseling Center and work with the PBSC Grants office to pursue the funding.
“I think young women in college need role models,’’ Fletcher said, reflecting on her own undergraduate experience and the benefits she gained from participating in a similar program. “Black and Brown students are still typically underserved, and they need somebody to help them get across the finish line.”
The College already has a similar program, Aspiring Male Panthers, that targets men of color. The Sister to Sister project comes as PBSC, as part of its strategic plan, is working to improve retention and help close the graduation gap for minority students at the College. While Sister to Sister will serve 50 students for 2020-2021, the goal is to sustain the initiative beyond the grant year.
“Women are the foundation of the world but carry the world on their shoulders, and they tend to do this alone. The Sister to Sister project will be one of their supports along their route to greatness,’’ said Dr. Roxanna Anderson, a psychology professor at the Boca Raton campus and president of NCBAA, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges that works to maximize personal and career opportunities for African American students, faculty, staff and administrators. “The project is to provide support by providing them with a mentor who can come to their aid whenever the mentee hits a roadblock… and get to know them better.”
For more information about Sister to Sister, call 561-862-4318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.