Mentoring program expands

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By John Barnhart

    A teen mentoring program sponsored by the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) has expanded.

    The program started at Liberty High School in 2009 with the goal of connecting high school girls with college educated professional women in the community who could serve as mentors. The girls have received tips on areas such as business etiquette, personal finances, interview skills, resume writing and beauty and makeup. They also do a women’s leadership panel each year in January, giving the girls a chance to meet professional women in the area.
    Now, AAUW has expanded to make the program available to all schools, including private schools and home-schooled teens. Cheryl Nester, who heads up the program, said that they plan to have one in place for women at Central Virginia Community College soon.
    Another new feature will be a $1,000 scholarship. Nester said that this will be awarded to one of the girls in the program.
    The program’s official name is the Lydia Mentoring Network. Girls who are interested in participating may contact the Bedford Count AAUW by sending an e-mail to AAUWMentoring@gmail.com.
    Along with the mentoring program, the Lydia Network is sponsoring a series of events for young women open to the community at large. The first, entitled “How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk,” was held at the Bedford Central Library this month. It was presented by Lawrence Compter, executive director of The Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia. One of the goals of the Marriage Alliance, an independent non-profit organization, is to help youth and singles acquire healthy relationship skills.
    The program that Compter presented was geared to females in the 14 through 19-year-old age group. Compter said that the program was developed by John Van Epp.
    “We want to avoid ‘love is blind,’” said Compter.
    “The emphasis in this program is to make good choices,” he said.
    Other public offerings by the Lydia Network include:
    • A Night at the Opera, at the Academy of Music in Lynchburg at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22;
    • Building a Beautiful You, at the Bedford Central Library from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24;
    • Hair Styles and Colors that Compliment You, at the Bedford Central Library from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8; and
    • Rhythm and Runway Revue Talent and Fashion Show, at the Bower Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 1.