It looks like a trip to the dentist. But for 20 young ladies, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at a potential career.
“We teach them about body image, healthy eating, manners, relationships, getting along with each other. Just about anything you can think of we try to expose them to it, exposure is big,” says Mildred Williams. She started the LASS Program seven years ago.
LASS stands for “ladies attaining self sufficiency”. Williams started it after seeing a need to reach out to sixth grade girls at Rochester’s school #35.
Williams says, “I thought there has to be something we could do for them to make them have more confidence in themselves, better relationships among the teachers and students at the school, so this idea came to mind.”
5 leaders work with the girls, exposing them to as many colleges, careers, and positive role models they can.
Samirah Hutchinson is in the program now. “We had to write down what we want to be and what we think our yearly salary would be, what we’d get paid, different stuff like that.”
Ambrosia Steward, is also in the program and says, “We learned teamwork, feminine hygiene, what friendships are; like bad friendship, unhealthy friendships, and healthy friendships”
People in the community also volunteer their time and expertise, like the dentists at Contemporary Dentistry.
Dr. Anna Belous says, “Because our office is mostly women, we are two women dentists, we have dental assistants that are women and hygienists so we wanted to give that information out to the girls that there are a lot of possibilities for women. “
This is the 7th year for the LASS program and the girls meet weekly from October through June. The group does not get any money from the school and raises all of it’s own funds through donations and grants.
About 40 girls apply to get into LASS each year, but only 20 are selected. It’s a big time commitment for the girls and the volunteers.
Stewart says, “they are really nice and kind and they like explain things to you and stuff.”
Williams adds, “it couldn’t be done without them. Very dedicated.”
Dedicated to preparing young minds for the future.