KERN COUNTY, Calif. — The Bakersfield Women’s Conference happens every year.
"We have the women’s conference to help our older women or women who are in business, but what about the young ladies who aren’t there yet?," said Susan Spears.
They wanted to help young girls too, so they created the R.O.S.E. Mentor Program.
Susan has been a part of it for almost 25 years now and is currently the program coordinator.
“It’s just amazing the growth that they now have," she said.
R.O.S.E. stands for Realizing Options for Student Excellence.
R.O.S.E. mentors work with students at 22 different high schools in Kern County.
“It’s just to help them enhance their possibilities, get through college, consider college, consider different career opportunities," said Susan. "Really to show them that they’re cared for, they’re loved and we’re there to listen.”
The girls are recommended by their school counselors. It’s a two year program during the months the girls are in school for their junior and senior years.
Susan said it’s important for each teenager to have an adult figure in their life.
“Many of these young ladies may not have a mother in the picture and [having] that bond is very important," she said. "We’re not a mother to these girls but we’re there to listen and hopefully direct them in a path they want to go into.”
Susan said the mentors form strong relationships with their mentees. She still keeps in touch with some of hers even after they’re married with children.
She said the women of Kern County are inspiring, bringing up the next generation of female leaders.
“We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got a lot of experience and we need to share those things," said Susan.
Susan encourages any woman of any age to become a mentor.
“If you have a listening ear and a warm heart, you’re a mentor. That’s all you need," she said.
Click here to apply to become a mentor. Applications should be submitted by October.