Written on May 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm
When more than 650 people were in attendance at the annual Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program (“WOT”) Graduation Luncheon held on April 30, the event was more than a celebration of the accomplishments of the graduating seniors from the WOT program. It was validation of the role mentors and college scholarships can play in the lives, and futures, of these “at risk” young women.
The graduation luncheon was held at Miami’s Jungle Island with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as the featured guest speaker, in addition to Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward Public Schools and Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools.
The event celebrated the graduation of over 400 students from 109 public high schools throughout South Florida. Many of these students the first in their families to be going to college. Students were congratulated for successful completion of the WOT program, as well as their scholastic accomplishments.
Those who received special honors were students graduating in the top 5% to 1% of their classes, as well as those who received college scholarships. This year, WOT awarded $211,000 in college scholarships to more than 100 mentees.
“Mentoring and supporting these young ladies has been such a rewarding experience in my life. I receive even more than I give in the process,” said Robbin Newman, General Counsel with area commercial property developer and landlord, Danburg Properties of Boca Raton, and a long-time mentor at Broward County’s Western High School. “They’re an inspiration to all those who know them.”
Newman also served on the WOT scholarship committee; so in addition to her mentoring and daily job responsibilities at Danburg Properties, she spent at least 30 hours in April working with other members of the scholarship committee to review scholarship applications and interview many of the young women eligible scholarship funds.
“Although it was a significant time commitment in addition to my other responsibilities, words cannot explain how I felt standing on the podium at the luncheon and congratulating the scholarship recipients,” Newman said. “Many of these young women had overcome so many personal obstacles and yet were able to make such significant achievements both inside and outside of school in their efforts to graduate and continue on to college.”
Danburg Properties sponsored a table at the event, and invited Newman’s three graduating mentees, Western’s program coordinator, Newman’s co-mentor Maxine Becker of Alene Boutique in Plantation, and Barbara Cambia, Director of Corporate Relationships with Lynn University.
“We’re proud to support Robbin, her dedication and her effort in mentoring these young ladies,” said Jamie Danburg, president of Danburg Properties of Boca Raton. “Through Robbin, we’ve witnessed first-hand Women of Tomorrow’s belief that by educating women, mentors can help them go on to college and become self-sustaining.”
Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program provides preventative programming for at-risk girls. It promotes drop-out prevention, increases access to higher education, creates pathways out of poverty and fosters workforce development. As founder and president Jennifer Valoppi says, “Changing the world one young woman at a time.”