POSTED: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 7:25pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 10:03am
A mentoring program at a South El Paso High School is giving girls some moral and academic support. "Project 2013" has taken 20 sophomore girls under its wing, to make sure they succeed and learn some valuable life-long skills.
"I really was like the type of girl that was a slacker," said sophomore Marilu Cardenas. "I didn't care."
"Back then, in 8th grade I used to be the kind of person who didn't care. I was a bully," said Zulema Hurtado.
But Marilu and Zulema have sure turned things around since becoming part of "Project 2013". The program is a Junior League initiative to motivate a group of girls at Bowie High School to improve their grades and their self-esteem.
"What we're doing is teaching them about leadership and empowering them to become great women and teaching them that there are opportunities and possibilities outside of the area that they live in," said Lorene Perrin. Perrin, the Chair of the Committee, is one of nine women from the Junior League who mentors the girls of "Project 2013".
"It started in 2009 when they were Freshmen at Bowie High School," said Perrin. "So 2013 stands for the year that they will graduate and right now we're on track for all 20 ladies to graduate.>
The mentors are available to help with homework and questions. They also put on power lunches every other Wednesday. "We are big on empowering them and teaching them that women can do great things. So we brought in women in medicine, women in law enforcement, women in journalism," said Perrin.
The mentors also take the girls on field trips every semester. They've been out bowling together, to a health fair and to the UTEP Dinner Theater, where they saw "The Sound of Music."
"It's been a great experience because not many of the girls that are here at Bowie get the same experience that we do to get to know El Paso better," said Marilu.
What the mentors are proudest of is seeing the academic improvement and the potential to where it could take the girls.
"Currently, 98% of them have A's and great attendance," said Perrin.
The Junior League says they hope to continue the project once the girls graduate in 2013 and maybe even expand to other schools.