College Women Return to Guide High School Students

01/11/2015

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  • Halima Adenegan graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland.
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  • In 2012 - four years after she graduated - she started a program to help guide, or mentor, the young women in this high school.
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  • The name of the mentoring program is Imara Roose.
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  • Imara is Swahili for strong, and Roose is from part of the school's name.
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  • The mentors are female college students.
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  • They volunteer as big sisters and role models.
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  • Each week, the members of Imara Roose gather in a large group to discuss topics that interest them.
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  • They talk about physical fitness and being healthy, as well as social media and their self-image.
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  • Sometimes, they talk in smaller groups.
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  • In these small groups, a mentor answers their questions.
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  • On other occasions, students meet with just their mentor.
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  • Ms. Adenegan said these discussions are good for people who are shy or who have private questions.
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  • Ms. Adenegan said the high school women can feel comfortable in the group.
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  • They are free to discuss common issues, personal problems and the difficulty of being a teenager.
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  • "I think they just need someone to say I've been here, I've done that, just follow what I'm doing because I don't want you to do the same mistakes that I did."
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  • Justice Davis, who graduated in May, participated in the program.
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  • She said it helped increase her self-confidence.
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  • "One of the things I really learned was self confidence.
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  • So, like, when I'm in school and I have a doubt, I know that I shouldn't have it.
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  • I've learned that everyone's different and I am my own self.
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  • I've learned what I like, and what I want to do.
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  • So that's really helped me a lot."
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  • Averi Millet also participated in the program.
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  • She said the discussion on peer pressure was very useful.
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  • "I heard a lot of different comments on how you can positively peer-pressure someone and negatively peer-pressure someone,
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  • and I thought it was amazing.
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  • It helped me actually get through a lot of situations after that."
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  • Halima Adenegan said the Imara Roose groups also help high school seniors with their college and future plans.
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  • They work on applying to college and developing their careers.
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  • University of Maryland junior Tinsae Gebriel volunteered as a mentor this year because she wanted to return something to her community and help other young women.
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  • "When I come here, I actually enjoy it.
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  • I know that every day they go back home, learning a little something and I'm learning a lot from them, too.
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  • So it's like, I'm not wasting or sacrificing my time because I'm actually enjoying it.
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  • If you show interest, sooner or later the girls will start to open up to you."
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  • When young women trust their mentors, she said, they are able to talk about difficult issues.
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  • "Like relationships and also like sex education.
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  • There are a lot of questions and misinformation out there.
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  • A lot of the information they thought were facts were actually not true.
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  • They were relying on some of their friends to answer their questions,
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  • and their friends didn't know the answers either."
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  • Eleanor Roosevelt principal Reginald McNeil strongly supports Imara Roose.