Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program Announces National Expansion

Miami-based mentoring organization deemed a model for the nation

MIAMI (March 10, 2011) – Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, a unique, high impact mentoring program, announces plans for its national expansion with a $3 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Women of Tomorrow will enter three new cities becoming only the fourth national charity headquartered in Miami.  The expansion will begin in the school districts of Detroit and Philadelphia as well as Charlotte, N.C.     

"This Knight Foundation will enable us to make this life changing program available to thousands more at-risk young women across the country, who will benefit from the interaction with highly accomplished professional women” said WOT President and Founder, Jennifer Valoppi.  “I believe that uplifting the young women who will raise the next generation is one of the most effective ways to break the cycles of violence, poverty and abuse for generations to come.”

"Investing in innovative, sustainable programs that engage young adults in ways that matter to them is an important way to broaden their horizons and secure their engagement with their communities,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. "Women of Tomorrow has a remarkable record of providing young women with new opportunities for bettering themselves and instilling a deep sense of commitment and connection to their communities. That is a goal we share in common and that is consistent with the philanthropy of one of our benefactors, Clara Knight."

The expansion will begin this September, bringing the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program to 3,500 girls in greater Detroit, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. Women of Tomorrow currently operates in 42 Florida cities serving nearly 2,000 at-risk young women annually in 99 public high schools with its network of 250 mentors.

The program works in partnership with public school districts. The schools select at-risk girls for participation based on a broad definition of “at-risk,” including low income, abuse, disability, likelihood of dropping out of high school, becoming involved in gangs, drugs, criminal activity, pregnancy or academic, social, behavioral, medical and other risk factors.

Women of Tomorrow then utilizes four activities aimed at inspiring, motivating and empowering at-risk young women to be successful in all aspects of their lives, including monthly mentoring sessions, career-focused field trips, community service, specialized college campus visits and scholarship opportunities. Graduates are encouraged to return as mentors.

“The success of our schools and students depends largely on community partnerships that seek to lift students and empower them to soar both personally and academically,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of schools and incoming president of the national Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.. “The amazing partnership that Miami-Dade County Public Schools has with Women of Tomorrow is just the type of education and community collaboration that prepares young people to conquer their challenges and revel in their triumphs,” he said. “The program boasts a remarkable 92 percent high school graduation rate, far exceeding national rates. This accomplishment alone is proof that the program has made a tremendous impact in Miami-Dade County, and should be expanded to benefit young women across our nation.”

About Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program

Women of Tomorrow was conceived in 1997 by Television Journalist Jennifer Valoppi and co-founded with Don Browne, Telemundo Network President.  The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program is designed to inspire, motivate and empower at-risk young women to live up to their full potential through a unique mentoring program with highly accomplished professional women and scholarship opportunities. Women of Tomorrow currently mentors approximately 2,000 at-risk young women in 99 public high schools within 42 cities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County with its network of 250 Mentors. Research shows that Women of Tomorrow Mentees have increased self-esteem, a 92% high school graduation rate, and increased academic performance each year they are in the program, to a statistically significant degree. Women of Tomorrow has awarded $2.7 million in scholarships to 973 mentees.  For more information, call 305.371.3330 or visit www.womenoftomorrow.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.