We before me: Mentoring Aspiring College Applicants at the Step Up College Connections Conference
By Arielle Hoffman, Senior Marketing Manager, Oath for Good
Oath's name speaks to a core truth of the company—we are here to make and keep promises to partners, colleagues and the communities of which we're a part. That last point comes to life nearly every day with all the opportunities Oath provides for employees to volunteer time to help community organizations, to put the we before the me. On November 18th, I was part of an Oath team that participated in a Step-Up College Connections Conference funded by the Oath Foundation.
Step Up is an organization focused on providing under-resourced girls with tips, tools and training to prepare them for college and careers. Their annual College Connections Conference series landed in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas before coming to New York City's Barnard College this past weekend. Our Oath team was on hand to work one on one with conference participants, helping them prep personal statements for college admissions, start budgeting for their college years and learn ways to manage the stresses that come with college life.
Garnesha Crawford Ezediaro, Director of Leadership and Learning at Oath, kicked off the conference with words encouraging each girl to control their own path to success. "The journey of a leader is long. In college and in life, you will sometimes have to put on your blinders in order to focus on your unique journey towards your goals. Knowing and learning from what is happening around you is important but you cannot allow another's circumstance or situation take you off course or distract you from focusing on seeking out the tools you need to be your best."
During the mentor sessions, I was matched with a shy 15-year-old. We were a perfect pair—I was once a shy 15-year-old, too. Throughout the afternoon, I gave her some examples of how I worked to put myself out there when I was her age. I could see how my experiences were helping her gain confidence. I was fortunate to have incredible female mentors help break me out of my shell, and it was such a rewarding experience to be able to take part in doing the same for this young woman.
Through its programs, Step Up makes a huge impact in the lives of teens from under-resourced communities. 70% of Step Up's participants report an increase in confidence and college and career readiness; 100% graduate from high school and are accepted to college. Knowing that Oath and the Oath Foundation help power this change makes me proud; having the opportunity to play a role in that makes me grateful.