My name is India Williams and I am proud to serve as the official Program Director for Mentor2Mentor (M2M), ScaleLA’s new entrepreneurial youth mentoring initiative.
As a Senior Entrepreneurship and Business Law major at Loyola Marymount University, I understand the potential for endless innovation and originality by all residents of the region, regardless of their background or social status. Volunteerism and giving back to my community has been a passion of mine since I was very young. For this reason, I made the decision to participate in something that would allow me to have a bigger platform for inducing change within my society. With lots of hard work and determination in mind, I was incredibly honored to have been crowned Miss California USA 2017 and represent all those across the state who often find themselves struggling for their voices to be heard.
The goal of Mentor2Mentor is to develop and manage a workforce pipeline between diverse underrepresented youth, entrepreneurial College students and tech companies within the Los Angeles Area. There is no denying the fact that the Tech community here in Los Angeles could benefit from increased diversity. So by connecting the dots by creating this lasting pipeline, we hope to increase diversity in the tech sector as a true reflection of regional demographics of Los Angeles and provide a voice to the voiceless that is so desperately needed. We also hope to increase college opportunities for our high school youth and career opportunities for our College participants in order to create a lasting impact for all communities.
Our vision for turning this goal into a reality is through establishing a program where motivated College students serve as direct mentors for two High School students. Together as a team, they will work on real-world projects geared toward finding solutions to problems within our community. In order to reward the students for serving as mentors to the youth, each College student will be paired with a professional mentor of their own in the form of an employee from one of our participating Tech companies. We are incredibly fortunate to be working with some of the top tech companies here in the Los Angeles area including local partners at Google, WeTransfer, and several more companies who share our vision to provide a voice to those who need it the most.
In comparison to other mentorship programs, Mentor2Mentor provides a project-based experience for our participants. For our pilot program launching this February, we will be collaborating with another non-profit organization called Safe Place For Youth, where our High School and College students will work together to find solutions to combat youth homelessness in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority 2017 Youth Count report, there are approximately 6,000 homeless youth on the streets of LA County on any given night. The time is now to fix this issue in our community once and for all.
The program will conclude with a final pitch competition where the High School students and their College mentors will present their original plans in front of local prominent Government officials, Tech companies, and various media outlets in order to further understand and solve many of the core issues that lead to youth homelessness. Once these groups are able to present their plans, they will partner up with leaders in order to continue the conversation and execute their own unique plans for success.
In order for Mentor2Mentor to achieve full success, this must be a lasting cycle that will continue for several generations. We would love to see our High School youth return to the program as College mentors and have our College mentors return to serve as executive mentors, thus completing the lasting cycle! The relational aspect of the program, as depicted in the name, will allow us to create a pipeline that further connects and builds a relationship between Tech and the community here in Los Angeles for years to come.
Thank you for being an integral part of our movement to provide a voice for the voiceless and if you would like to get involved, feel free to email me at India@ScaleLA.com!