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Mentoring

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WSVN -- Mentor: "Imagine if you had to wear clothes that prevented you from sitting down."

This is no ordinary class. These elementary students are learning about powerful women of the past and present and how to become one. They're all part of a mentoring organization called "Strong Women Strong Girls," the brainchild of South Florida native Lindsay Hyde.

Lindsay Hyde, Founder of Strong Women Strong Girls: "I believe every girl deserves to have somebody who can be a role model for them, who can champion them, and who can help them to imagine what's possible."

The program pairs third through fifth graders with mentors who teach leadership skills, how to be proud of who they are and how to reach for the stars.

Lindsay Hyde: "To have somebody who says, 'You can do it. You can be the president. You can be the mayor of Miami.'"

Today, the girls are learning about fashion icon Coco Chanel, who changed the way women dress.

Keyaira Coleman, 9 years old: "She made clothing for women so that they can wear men's clothing and still fit their body."

Eight-year-old Geneva Thompson is learning you don't have to fit a certain mold to fit in.

Geneva Thompson: "That we don't have to be, like, all girly girls. We can just be whatever we want to be."

7's Parenting Expert Dr. Valerie Goode says, it's vital for kids to have someone in their life they can look up to.

Dr. Valerie Goode: "Mentoring is very important, because we were all given the opportunity to learn different things in our life, and it's important that we pay it forward."

Dr. Val says, sharing your experiences can help empower young people, build self-esteem and help them develop their own identity.

Dr. Valerie Goode: "So it's important to have people who you can talk to, who kids can talk to, about learning how to be a healthy, responsible adult."

Julia is a full-time student at Miami-Dade College in Homestead. She became a mentor and meets with the girls twice a week.

Julia Velezon, Mentor, Strong Women Strong Girls: "We talk about unique talents and abilities. We talk about health. We talk about everything that a young girl needs to know in order to survive in this world."

She says mentoring works both ways.

Julia Velezon: "I feel great. I feel tremendous. I am able to give back something that was given to me and that is such a joyful feeling."

Keyaira Coleman: "My name is Keyaira, and I am wearing a necklace."

The day ended with the girls putting on a fashion show, modeling designs they made themselves, proud of what they accomplished.

Girls chanting: "Strong women, strong girls! Strong women, strong girls! Strong women, strong girls!"

Lynn Martinez: "Strong Women Strong Girls is in 13 schools and community centers across South Florida."

For more information on mentoring programs like the one at Miami-Dade College, contact:Xania LawrenceTel: (305) 237-5234or visit www.mdc.edu

For information on Strong Women, Strong Girls:www.swsg.org

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