This post was written by Shirleyka Hector, a mentee in the Writing and Mentoring Program, who participated in the Mentee Mid-Year Workshop on Saturday, January 11.
The Mentee Mid-Year Workshop was such an interesting and enjoyable workshop! It was simply amazing, no lie. To be frank with you all, I consider myself a very introverted person, but that workshop got the best out of me. For the first time, I felt like I was in a safe space where I could share my story with other people without any fear. I also got to interact with a lot of other mentees. This workshop gave us mentees the chance to get to know each other better and we felt like we could relate to each other in so many different ways.
Moments of Clarity
In our Opening Lines writing exercise, we had to think about moments of clarity in our lives. Moments when we rediscovered who we are, questioned our purpose as women, or felt motivated in a new way. My favorite line in the Opening Lines was: “Describe your moment in five words.” For that prompt, I wrote: “Obstacles fashioned me into greatness.” At first, I felt like five words was not enough. However the challenge to put a moment on paper using only five words was fun because it was difficult.
Barriers to Break
In that workshop, we did not have a craft talk author; we had a PLETHORA of phenomenal women instead, which was beyond great. These women were just awesome and were really inspiring. Karen Louviere, Ramya Ramana, Sarwat Siddiqui, Emily Pilloton, and Melissa Campbell all gave us some advice on breaking the barriers that prevent us from achieving our goals and becoming successful. They shared their most personal experiences with us. All of these lovely women told us their stories, where they came from and how they got to where they are right now. Most importantly, they told us about how they overcame obstacles in their lives.
Powerful Words and Voices
The big message these wonderful women were conveying was: “Let your voice be heard to make a change. Each of you has a voice; let that voice be your weapon to shoot bullets. Keep on shooting for a change. You have to let your voice be heard because you can make changes just by speaking. We women are the visionaries in this chaotic world. If we do not voice our opinions, then who would do it for us?
“We have to be very determined to accomplish our goals and change our communities to make the world a better place for ourselves and the future generations to come. Don’t let other people define who we are. We are the writers of our own dictionaries. Only we can truly define who we are and set standards for ourselves, NOT society. We should feel free to do whatever we want to do. As long as we set our minds, we will reach our goals, no matter what the costs are.”
Group Reimagining: Stories that Shape Us
After listening to those lovely ladies talk, mentees had to get into groups to share our personal voices and experiences. We had to create personal statements. Once we were grouped, we talked about all kinds of things; from life at home, school, to relationships. Mentees had to write prompts and create a collaborative piece to perform using those prompts. My favorite prompt was “I share my story for…” The purpose of that prompt was to inspire us to write and share our stories and to voice our beliefs because we do not know who we can touch just by sharing our stories.
Make a Statement
In conclusion, the purpose of the workshop was to socialize and to speak up in our communities. The workshop taught me how to be a better human being and to give back to my community. It also taught me how to be more aware of everything around me and how my stories can break barriers just by sharing them. This year, I predict that we will be able to break lots and lots of barriers, we will BREAK THROUGH! Clarity and alertness radiated from that superb workshop, I was really moved. I completely loved it!!!