Feb. 12, 2019 11:46 am

This girls’ leadership org wants you to honor the ‘women with grit’ in your life

Angie Ortiz, who holds a youth seat on the Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award's advisory board, writes about the power of mentorship ahead of a Valentine's Day Shout-Out campaign.

The Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award's retreat in Summer 2018.

(Photo via facebook.com/JMBAward)

This is a guest post by Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award advisory board member Angie Ortiz.
In 2017, I was fortunate to be named an honorable mention for the Jill Melmed-Buzzeo Award (JMB Award).

I was graduating from Cristo Rey Philadelphia and would soon be attending Fairfield University. Receiving this award meant I’d receive money to help cover my travel costs to and from school and be paired with a mentor.

This mentorship turned out to be so important in my first year at college. Being a first-generation college student, I didn’t know a lot about living on campus, being far from my family or the academic expectations. When I hit hard times, I could always rely on talking with my JMB Award mentor, Rosina, who gave me advice and encouraged me when I doubted myself. Rosina is now like family to me. The resources she helped me become aware of have allowed me to become confident in speaking up and advocating for myself.

I knew about the money I’d receive as an awardee, and the mentoring, too. What I was not expecting was everything else that came with being a member of the JMB Award community.

On my first summer retreat with this community, I met past recipients, the mentors, and board members. Each year, JMB Award holds a summer retreat like this, and the day covers various topics related to money, career paths, and ourselves and our community. The atmosphere whenever we gather can only be described as powerful. You are in a room full of professionally accomplished women who are there to support us, the younger generation. They want to share their knowledge of what it was like to be a student and begin their careers.

What’s even more impactful is they are all women. This idea of women supporting women is such a marvelous thing because it shows that when we join together, great things are to come.

This December I took a new step with JMB Award: I interviewed for and was offered a youth seat on our advisory board. I want to hold this position because of the work exposure and experience it offers. I also believe I can be a middle woman between the board and students and a powerful voice for the organization with potential donors. Now that I am a youth board seat member, I see not only all the hard work that goes into making this organization thrive but also the amount of effort that goes into building a caring and empowering community.

From our Partners

This Valentine’s Day we hope to incorporate you into our community as we launch our first Valentine’s Day Shout-Out. As a women-led organization focused on helping women, we want to add to the existing traditions of giving cards, candy or flowers and invite everyone to join us in recognizing all the powerful women with grit that inspire us every day.

We hope you’ll join us in this Valentine’s Day Shout-Out. Here’s all you need to know to do so. Anytime on Thursday, Feb. 14:

  • Take to your social accounts to “shout out” a girl or women who embodies empowerment, strength and resilience and has inspired you.
  • Share a photo and the name of the person, her relationship to you, and what about her inspires you.
  • Include #behervalentine and tag @jmbaward (on Instagram and Facebook only) so we can follow along and amplify your message of love, admiration and appreciation.
  • Invite others to join us in showing the beauty of women uplifting each other.

We hope you can join us this Valentine’s Day to celebrate the women with grit in your life. Let’s make this year all about sisterly love.


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