nonprofit

Case Study: Mentor program for survivors of sex­ trafficking. A collaboration with Two Wings.

Program Overview

Mentor Matchmaker Foundation created a Professional Mentor Program for the participants of the Two Wings 2015 Academy. Each participant was paired with an experienced Mentor from a local organization to help them achieve three professional goals related to their career and one cause ­related goal aimed at raising awareness for the fight against sex­trafficking.  
 
Mentor Matchmaker and Two Wings collectively designed the goals, objectively matched the relationships and oversaw the mentee ­mentor relationship progress.  The program lasted three months, requiring a time commitment of at least one hour per month per mentee­ mentor pair. Their shared experiences make up much of this report. 
 
Organization Background

Two Wings empowers survivors of sex trafficking to identify and pursue their dream vocation through mentoring programs, life skills classes, and career training workshops.  Their program helps to create the path for a life of financial and physical independence for survivors.

Through dedicated volunteers and an expert staff, Two Wings provides guidance that points their clients in the direction of their dreams. Two Wings’ dream is to one day see how these transformed lives will dynamically impact the world for the better. 


My mentor took me to her office so I could see people working together and learn how the business works.  I really liked being there in person, hands on, and watching her check on everything.  Making sure it runs right.”  


Organization Challenge

In September 2015, Two Wings launched its first Academy Program Cohort.  The organization needed to guide participants through a three­ month preparation process which would enable the survivors to enter and excel in the work force.  The first month included an assessment of skills and personal goals.  During the second and third months the participants began an internship at a local
business.  
 
Mentor Matchmaker was tasked with the responsibility of designing a curriculum and providing career mentors to guide participants through the process of acclimating to and getting the most out of their new positions.  The Mentors provided a listening ear and expertise. Mentor Matchmaker, Two Wings and the Mentors ensured that participants were on target toward their long ­term career dreams.  
 
In the image on the right: Elena Bonder, the founder of Two Wings, with participating mentees. 
 
Program Structure

This program followed Mentor Matchmaker’s standard curriculum and system for young professionals. The program started with the Mentees defining their specific career interests. Brian Frankel, the founder of Mentor Matchmaker, sourced the Mentors based on those career interests.  
 
All participants received their own guidebook describing the details of the program. Brian conducted an in­ person workshop to on­board the Mentees at the Two Wings headquarters. The Mentors were on­boarded via individual
phone calls.  
 
After an email introduction to their Mentor, Mentees were instructed on how to respond and schedule the first meeting with their Mentor.  The meetings took place at at the
Mentor’s office or a local coffee shop. Specific deadlines were given to the group in reference to when each meeting should be completed.  
 
The Mentees were provided with a list of questions to ask their Mentors throughout the duration of the program. They were required to transcribe some of the answers they received from the Mentor into an online reporting system. The Mentee was also asked to think about what they would talk about at their next meeting, encouraging them to think ahead. For example,


“We’re gonna talk about the 5 most important things to complete my goals.  I will learn the process of how her ice cream sandwiches are made, and will talk more about running a business and a food truck.” 


Brian did a check-­in phone call once a month with Two Wings and all participants.  During this check­-in they discussed any issues that arose, what went well, and when the next meeting was scheduled.  
  
What Worked Well  

“I like how they picked a mentor who is doing something interesting to me.”

“I am most excited about having access to someone who is so acclaimed in their field.”

“The mentors were experts  in their field.  I thought that was pretty incredible.”

“I liked how Brian checked up on us to make sure we were keeping in touch with our
Mentor.” 
 
“It’s nice to get to know young women outside of my usual social circle. I am happy to see that I am a positive force for them and a sounding board for their thoughts.”

“I think it’s about just creating more of a social relationship; someone to be a role model rather than a job placement thing.  To be positive and inspiring and to allow them to see how I’ve grown in my own industry.  She could be right there and see my business.”

“I think everyone in this world knows where they want to be. They just need assistance to go through the hurdles.” 
 
Measuring Success

Results of the three­ month program were measured through in ­depth interviews and a reporting process.  One Mentee was offered an internship.  The other participant was offered part time employment and was quickly promoted to full time.  Both Mentors were able to be present and actively meet with their Mentees during the first couple months of their new positions.  The Mentees demonstrated an increase in confidence and understanding of the work force and the trials that come with it. 
 
Future Goals

Mentor Matchmaker’s next project will provide 40 Mentors to survivors of sex trafficking. Survivors will come from local partner organizations throughout California.
 
Written by: Jessika Fuhrmaneck

Wrap Up Report: "Brunch & Build" is a huge success!!

Our July mixer was held in Koreatown, Los Angeles.  The brunch was catered by one of our very own mentees and was delicious!  Attendees aged from 18 to 76.  It was a powerful and moving event where dozens of women came together to equip and empower through generations.  The energy in the room was tangible.

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SPEAKERS

Our first speaker was Vijaya Lakshmi, a professional dancer from India.  Vijaya asked thought provoking questions like, "What do we understand about beauty? Is it only physical?"

Her response: “Advertisements emphasize only the physical beauty of a woman and that can be frustrating.  In today’s world women are not able to embrace aging comfortably. Inner grace is beauty. For external grace to show the dancer has to feel an inner grace. We have grace in how we live our lives.

Is grace only about being soft and sweet? No…it's also about boundaries and being aware of your strength. Not necessarily aggressiveness, but grace also includes other emotions.  Being able to say no without raising your voice or picking up a gun is grace.”

Karen Hudson shared with us some important information about business attire.

“Choose what to wear so you can connect with others through out your day. When you’re interviewing look like the company you want to work for. Ask them what the company wears. Look like who you want to connect with.

Every time we dress we create a character. Ask yourself - Where are you going today? Who am I going to meet? What is my goal today? Do I want to impress?

Never slump. Rise from the moment you step out of the car. Be a unique individual - but fit in.  Be the beautiful person that you are and be confident of yourself. Be the character all day long that you want to be and achieve the goals that you want. “

Elena Shahnaian spoke about her organization Two Wings.

“Two Wings is the key to opening unapproachable doors for our clients.  We all carry something with us; we are all women of passion with a dream and desire. Every bird has two wings - hope and courage.  Our clients bring the courage - we provide the hope.

Two Wings helps women learn how to leave our trauma behind when we join the workforce. Everyone has trauma, not just survivors. At Two Wings we don't create cookie cutter opportunities but rather address the individual's dream. People thrive when we are doing what we are passionate about.”

Two Wings is excited about their partnership with Mentor Matchmaker. The 300,000 children trafficked each year in the U.S. become adults.  It’s important to have career programs like Two Wings and Mentor Matchmaker to help provide necessary resources to those entering the workforce.

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BREAKOUT SESSIONS

The breakout sessions covered the topics of assertiveness and pricing.  Conversations were so filled with passion that some discussions continued for hours.  Attendees were connected and fired up to see change in their work place, and to help one another along the path to career success!

This event was a huge success!  Connections were made, people were inspired, and there was a sense of understanding that none of us are alone in our experiences and in our struggles.

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ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

According to post-event surveys 75% of attendees said they would like to attend a future event, and 38% said they would be interested in becoming a mentor with the Mentor Matchmaker program.

At our next event we would like to improve the way content is presented.  We will limit the Q&A portion of the event, institute a core focus, and provide more opportunities for one on one time between attendees.

Our summer brunch was definitely a great success with higher than expected attendance, and inspirational content from all of the speakers.

We hope to see you at the next Mentor Matchmaker mixer!

- Written by Jessika Fuhrmaneck