Mentors create safe haven for girls in Pomona

Deonah Cendejas
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne’s Shades of Essence fosters motivation and support for young girls at its Beautiful Butterflies mentoring program every Wednesday at Pomona High School.

The club promotes diversity and mentors young girls.

Shades of Essence is a multicultural club for empowering women and embracing women’s various cultural backgrounds, said D’nae Lewis, sophomore biology major and member of the club.

“It’s so women of different ethnicities can get together and talk about issues. It’s really like a support group.”

The club also branches out into the community to reach more women and girls, such as through the Beautiful Butterflies program.

For the Beautiful Butterflies program, the club works with girls at Pomona High School who need academic support, said Ebony Fredieu, sophomore criminology major and president of Shades of Essence.

Every Wednesday members of the club attend Beautiful Butterflies meetings.

The members lead discussions among the high school girls by providing a topic and having the girls write their feelings about the topic in a journal. Then the girls take turns sharing.

“It gives them someone to talk to and a safe place, a place where they (wont be) judged,” Fredieu said.

The high school girls talk about personal experiences or conflicts they may not know how to deal with.

One time, “a girl was going through guy issues and ended up having photos of her leaked to her whole high school,” Fredieu said. “So we talk about loving yourself and not stooping down to a lower level.”

One of the goals of Shades of Essence is to “make women embrace their womanhood,” Lewis said. Another one of the club’s main goals is to bring women of all different ethnicities and backgrounds together.

“Shades of Essence is for anybody and everybody who has a passion working with the youth to advise and mentor them,” said Carolina Gradilla, junior sociology major and member of the club. “For me, it’s inspired me to stay involved.”

“Obviously people come from different backgrounds and you don’t get to know who someone is until you spend time with them. It’s taught me how to be a leader,” Lewis said.

For more information about Shades of Essence, email ebony.fredieu@laverne.edu.

Deonah Cendejas can be reached at deonah.sharifi-cendeja@laverne.edu.

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