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Mamaroneck Student Takes First Steps Toward Career

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Liliana Mendoza has spent the last three months working at JW Tumbles through "Her Honor Mentoring" program, which is preparing her for future success with a year-long apprenticeship during her senior year at Mamaroneck High School.

Mendoza wants to work with children, possibly as a teacher, and is gaining valuable experience doing just that through "Her Honor Mentoring," which pairs female high seniors with local businesswomen in a position of power. Her mentor, Maria Diaz, owns JW Tumbles, a children's fitness center.

"I think that it's critical that they get this guidance in their senior year of high school because this is when they're going to have to make choices in terms of their education," Diaz said.

Diaz meets with her mentee once a week to talk, and has recently been focusing on college applications. Mendoza is finalizing her list of colleges. She also works at the children's gym four hours each week. "This is great exposure to learn how to deal with children and see how they learn," Diaz said.

Mendoza is one of 40 students from five Westchester High Schools selected for the program, many of which are the first in their family to graduate high school and attend college, including Mendoza.

"She is very proud of being able to do that for herself and for her family, too," Diaz said. "She wants to make everybody proud of her and she wants to receive a four year education."

Diaz is in her second year as a mentor for "Her Honor Mentoring," which began in 2006.

"It's really powerful to be able to guide them and open their eyes, and show them there are a lot of opportunities," Diaz said.

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