Monroe College Hosts Young Women from Area High Schools for Powerful “My Sister’s Keeper” Program Designed to Inspire and Motivate

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200+ Students from 12 Local High Schools Hear Strong Messages of Support, Empowerment, Inclusion, and Inspiration

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson addresses the young women attending the "My Sister's Keeper" event at Monroe College.

“Today’s program to celebrate these young women and inspire them to believe in themselves and achieve great things for their communities was very close to my heart as the father of three daughters,” said President Marc Jerome.

Monroe College, a national leader in educating first-generation and international students, last Thursday hosted “My Sister’s Keeper: Together We’ll Make HERstory”, a powerful female empowerment event attended by 240 young women from area high schools.

The annual program, held on the College’s Bronx campus, was led by Marc Jerome, president of Monroe College, and Joy Tolliver, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and General Counsel.

Over the course of two hours, the promising juniors and seniors from 12 Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn high schools engaged with an array of prominent guest speakers who shared incredible, uplifting messages of support and motivation, calling on the young women to dream big dreams and to find the courage and confidence to go after them. They also heard about the importance of lifting each other up, finding their voices, and making themselves heard.

The speaker’s this year included: Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner, New York State Education Department’s Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement; Chelsea DeJesus, Women’s Affairs Empire Fellow, Office of Governor Kathy Hochul; Leidaly Garcia, Monroe alumna and now staff member; Vanessa Gibson, Bronx Borough President; Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor, Monroe College Faculty and Bronx Civil Court Judge; George Patterson, Senior Director, New York City Department of Education overseeing the My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper Programs; and Nygera S. Pierson Mutis, a psychotherapist on staff at the College.

Current Monroe students Jaden Williams and Tenisha Sebastian also spoke during the program. The two graduate students talked openly about the challenges they faced on their journeys and the choices they made to stay on track with their education and overall goals.

The program concluded with a vision board project. The attendees were provided with an array of printed images and quotes representing various educational, professional, and personal goals that they may have for themselves. They were directed to cut out the ones that were most meaningful to them and attach them to a whiteboard. They were then encouraged to come to the microphone to share their vision board with the room.

“Today’s program to celebrate these young women and inspire them to believe in themselves and achieve great things for their communities was very close to my heart as the father of three daughters,” said President Jerome. “I am so grateful to our students and special guest speakers and, of course, to the amazing young women who joined us.”

The College is planning a similar program for young high school men – “My Brother’s Keeper” – later this spring.

Founded in 1933, Monroe College is a recognized leader in educating first-generation and international students. The College is proud of its innovative programs to increase college access, affordability, and completion outcomes, and the recognition it has received nationally for its impact on students’ social mobility.

Monroe educates more than 8,000 students each year, offering Certificate, Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs from New York campuses in the Bronx and New Rochelle, as well as in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia. Students may also pursue degree programs through Monroe Online.

Programs are offered through the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Business and Accounting, Criminal and Social Justice, Education, Hospitality Management, Information Technology, and Nursing, as well as through Monroe's King Graduate School. Liberal arts and continuing education programs are also available. For more information and admissions criteria, please visit

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Jacqueline Ruegger
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