Maui Business

Local Nonprofit Female Empowerment Organization Expands Mentoring Program

July 26, 2021, 8:35 AM HST
* Updated July 27, 7:58 AM
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Monica Marrow, WMYFB Executive Director (left) and Melissa Stoppiello, Mentoring Program Director (right). Courtesy photos.

What Makes You Feel Beautiful, a Maui-based nonprofit female empowerment organization invites Maui County women ages 18 to 35 to sign up for a free, six-month mentoring program.  

 “We’re looking for young women interested in receiving support in achieving their personal and professional goals in life,” said Monica Marrow, Executive Director of the organization. “Our locally-trained women mentors provide confidential, one-on-one mentoring focused on skill development, goal achievement, problem-solving, networking, career, education, communication and increasing all-round life skills.”

Oʻahu native Melissa Stoppiello, director of the mentoring program, says she got involved with What Makes You Feel Beautiful after returning to Hawaiʻi and her Maui-based family after spending 20 years living in California working as a paralegal. “When I was young, although I dreamed of living abroad, I never thought that I would be able to venture off the island,” Stoppiello says. “When I came back, I realized a lot of young women feel that way. They feel kind of isolated and uncertain about what they can accomplish ‘out there.’ When I heard about the mentoring program, I thought it would be a good thing to get involved. More women need to hear, ‘Hey, you can branch out and do anything you set your mind to.’”

The frequency and number of actual meetings between mentor and mentee are determined by the needs of the participant. Throughout, privacy is strictly enforced. “All conversations that come up in sessions are strictly confidential,” says Stoppiello. “The island is small, and a lot of girls worry about stuff getting back to their aunty or cousins and such. I just tell them, ‘That’s not going to happen. This is just about you and discovering your goals and setting your dreams in motion.’”

A recent graduate of the program, Alexandria Young from Kula, arrived on the island a year ago after working in South Africa as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. “I was adapting back into American culture, trying to stabilize myself here on the island,” says Young. “Working with my mentor was really helpful. She saw potential in me and gave me ideas. She helped me to meet other people. She texted me job opportunities, coached me on building my network here on Maui and helped me see where my future growth lies.”

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Today, Young is living her dream of working on a farm and doing nonprofit work. “The mentoring really helped me embrace where I am and look into the future—but not too far into the future. It’s helped me learn how to keep a perfect balance.”

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After the six-month mentoring program is over, if they choose to do so, participants have the opportunity to move into the low-cost What Makes You Feel Beautiful life coaching and career coaching programs. “The organization and the programs give women a lot of options,” said Stoppiello.

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