As a creative mentoring program designed to empower pre-teen girls in Alexandria to fulfill their true potential, Space of Her Own is always looking for enthusiastic and inspiring mentors to join SOHO. Please see our testimonials and mentor requirements to learn how to be involved with SOHO as a mentor.
Angela, Mentor, 2011-2012
I don't know about you, but I see the challenges young girls face today. It's concerning. Many influences tug on pre-teens, sometimes leading to delinquency, promiscuity and countless other challenges. Through Space of Her Own, I personally witnessed Katherine transform from a little girl who cried at the drop of a hat based on what others would say into a confident leader who is encouraging to other girls. Sarafina has gone from disruptive and unable to focus, to being viewed by her peers as a budding entrepreneur with a passion for beauty and fashion. She even invented and led a beauty salon business game --with appointments, play money and employee reviews! Sierrah, or "Sunshine," has renewed hope and Eden's etiquette drastically improved. That is only the beginning. As a mentor, I've witnessed improvements in grades, social skills and attitudes throughout the year. Only a limited number of spaces exist to be a SOHO mentor and I don't know if there is room left for next year, but if you have a heart for children and want to make a difference in the environments of young ladies in your community, email firstname.lastname@example.org today to find out how you can be involved. With SOHO, we can transform the lives of young ladies throughout the nation!
Paula, Mentor, 2010-2011
The early-June weekend scramble to renovate bedrooms, with SOHO girls paired to decorate each other's rooms (a la Trading Spaces on HLN TV), is a workshop in consideration of the wants and needs of others. One girl leaves a note for the girl whose room she is renovating signing it "from your Bestie." Another girl excitedly asks the recipient, "Did you see the matching hangers?" Each girl is anxious to see the reaction of the other girl to the results of the bedroom makeover.
SOHO is a team effort and altruism is as important a goal as is the "Space of Her Own." SOHO builds other-directedness in the girls throughout the school year. Girls serving dinner each week are reminded of "portion control" and advised to save some for the art teacher or for visitors. They bake cookies (the scent of chocolate wafting through the school's halls) and present all the baked goods to the school custodial staff. The girls and their mentors visit with residents at a senior living facility, attend a charity auction, walk for the cure, and lend a hand in a variety of ways. As the girls find out, giving can be as fun as receiving!
For me, the structure of the weekly meetings, the specific activities, and the goal orientation - a fully renovated room for each girl - built my confidence in designing, executing, and completing projects. After a year in SOHO, can I cook for 20 people? Sure. Can I give useful ideas for designing a painted floor cloth? Absolutely. Can I haul furniture from one place to another in the final days? Well, not so easily, but I know how to ask for help.
Kathy, Mentor, 2010-2011
I heard about SOHO from a friend of mine who had participated the previous year. Being a SOHO mentor is a one-of-a-kind experience. It offers you a chance not only to meet great people in your community but to make a difference in someone's life. I volunteer in a lot of other local non-profit programs and nothing compares to SOHO. I made a direct impact on a child's life and created lifetime friendships.
The greatest benefit of the program is the empowerment it teaches the girls. Anything is within their reach. They can go to college. They can get great jobs. They do have bright futures. They are smart. Mentoring the girls in this critical part of their life has been so satisfying. Sixth grade girls deal with a lot of tough issues and the decisions they make today can have an impact on the rest of their lives. The support system SOHO provides is critical and means so much for them and the mentors.
I'd personally love to see the program expand to more schools. With the right support it could really make a bigger impact in our community. I highly recommend getting involved in the SOHO program in some way. You won't regret it!
Ariel, Graduate, 2009
SOHO made my room look pretty; I learned art and etiquette; I met new friends; I learned about nutrition, the human body, making wise choices and interacting positively with others; I went ice skating and loved it (even though I fell a few times); I went to a fancy Tea Party and practiced all of my etiquette skills.
I really, really, really like SOHO. I haven't missed a SOHO meeting all year. Coming to SOHO on Thursdays is the highlight of my week. SOHO has been an awesome program and I really love my room.
Becky, Ariel’s Mentor
SOHO introduced me to 14 wonderful 5th grade girls and their equally wonderful mentors – a fun, smart, talented diverse group of women and girls that I will never forget.
One SOHO girl in particular, Ariel, has taught me to notice the small things in life- the brilliance of colors, the innocence of youth, and the wonder of our imaginations.
Thanks to SOHO staff and volunteers like Linda and Anne, I was reminded that through the collective efforts of many caring folks, a program like SOHO can exist and can make our community a better, safer and more hopeful place that is blind to race, color, income or age;Thanks to our volunteer art teachers like Leslie, Kathleen and Malone – I learned many new art skills.
SOHO reminded me that, just like the SOHO girls, when I was about their age, I too learned how to sew (although most of the SOHO girls are better at it then me).
I went ice skating and to a fancy tea party, but most importantly, I became part of a very special group. For two plus hours each Thursday night, my cell phone and blackberry were turned off, and all that mattered was the mentoring, bonding, fun and art projects taking place inside The Art League's Annex in Alexandria.
I really, really, really like SOHO. Coming to SOHO on Thursdays has been highlight of my week.
Diana, Graduate, 2009
All the people at SOHO are really nice and very open. The art projects were really creative; my favorite was making the quilted pillows, and I loved learning to sew.
Jen, my mentor, is kind of like a big sister to me. I look up to her because she is strong, outgoing and just so bright to be around. My mom has been in the hospital for three months and having Jen to talk to has been like having a best friend. She is someone I really open up to. I can talk to her like I've known her for years.
Taja and Ta’Janae, Sisters and Graduates, 2009
We liked SOHO because it is fun and you can learn lots of skills, like painting and sewing. We also learned about important parts of our body, how to eat healthy food, and proper etiquette.
Once you become close with your mentor and other SOHO sisters, you don't want to let them go. We both hope to still come back and visit next year's SOHO group.
SOHO helped me change for the better and grow more mature. It helped teach us responsibilities and how to take care of yourself.
We loved SOHO and are thankful for our new bedrooms because it helps us sleep more soundly in our rooms. We are also thankful for SOHO because it keeps us focused on positive things rather than negatives.
Ashley, Graduate, 2009
My older sister Diamond was in SOHO last year. She said it was fun, and she was right. I got to go ice skating for me first time. I only fell once. We got to do cool art projects for our rooms. I got to pick all me colors my favorite project was the banner because I did it all by myself.
When it was time to do my room I got to help paint. I got all over my hands and feet, but it was fun. I was so surprised when I saw my room. There was so much more space and it was beautiful. My favorite part is the new bunk bed. I get to sleep on the top. I have all these new pillows and pretty sheets. Sometimes I sit in my new chair and pretend I'm in a fantasy world. My sister and I are so happy and excited in our new room.
The best part is that when I first came to SOHO I didn't knew a lot of the girls but now I am friends with all of them!
Roxana, Graduate, 2009
"Whoa baby! Whoa Baby!" Were the first words I yelled when I saw my new room. What's in the room you ask? A super cool new bunk bed, a totally awesome blue desk, a colorful lamp, and the best, most creative storage crate you've ever seen!
Every Thursday after school, I cleared my schedule for my favorite program – which is of course, SOHO. The memories and friendships I made while learning how to mix colors, how to design accessories for my room, and how to stay healthy are unforgettable. My memory book holds pictures of the tea party, the night the Sisters of Mercy came to talk about hygiene, and a funny picture with my mentor and family on family night.
But the memories don't stop there. How could I forget the time when my mentor, Sheri had a pizza party for me and my friends on my birthday. Sheri made me wear a crown and brought my favorite – ice cream cake!
But the very best thing about SOHO was making friends… the kind that last a lifetime.