As an 8 year old third grader, Bethani Nguyen started at Chinese Mutual Aid in the youth department for aftercare programming, spending time with her friends, and making new ones in the process. Tuyet, a close family friend, worked with CMAA at the time and told her all about the many activities, workshops, and close bonds everyone had with each other in CMAA’s Young Women Warriors program.
Young Women Warriors is a free, year-round mentorship program that connects 12-22 year old women of color to older, female professionals of color who can guide young women through their high school and early college careers. Pairing the mentees to successful leaders and role models in the community, YWW works to help the young women succeed academically, professionally, and personally. One hundred percent of our mentees have moved on to higher education, going to schools such as Yale and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Bethani couldn’t wait to get started.
After a few years of mentorship through the program, at 15 she became a Young Woman Warrior herself– teaching not only the other kids, but some of the mentors of the programs one of her own passions, dance. From everything from K-Pop workshops to cultural dances, Bethani was someone the kids looked up to. As years progressed, she utilized those who had mentored her in the past to help with bettering her college applications including one that allowed her to get into the University of Chicago. As of right now she’s studying for a liberal arts degree and continues her love of dance.
When asked if she'd recommend people to get involved with YWW, she said, “It’s amazing how much it impacted me as a person. Not only do they have these workshops, but the confidence building you get from doing something like kayaking with your mentors or the time that Rachel [one of her mentors] took me to a K-Pop dancing class are things that I’ll remember forever. I blossomed from a shy kid and became much more open and friendly. My mentors are like older sisters to me. I feel like we can talk about anything and feel like I’ve always got someone at my back if I need them.”
Interested in becoming a mentor for the Young Woman Warriors program like Bethani? Click our form to find out more information.