Monique Rodriguez, the founder of Mielle Organics, and Delores Tomorrow, founder of iGlow Mentoring a non-profit organization, have partnered to present the MiGlow Awards — an initiative which honors Chicago inner-city girls for their academic achievements, exceptional leadership skills, and community service efforts.
Considering nearly 30% of Chicago area students drop out before graduating, Tomorrow realized giving back needed to start in her own backyard.
“Studies show on average, mentoring programs increase graduation rates among students at risk of dropping out by 9%,” said Tomorrow. I knew partnering with MIELLE Organics was important for iGlow because our partnership is an example to the world that when women put their resources together, we have the ability to transform lives” she said. “Our brands build off of each other so that we can empower, educate, and excite the next generation to develop the confidence to change the world. The foundation of my mentoring system is to create a network of women that allows numerous generations to explore various career options and to Inspire Girls to utilize their diverse skills, personalities and experiences to Lead Our WORLD; together, MIELLE Organics and iGlow Mentoring are doing just that by presenting the MiGlow Awards.”
In 2014, Rodriguez launched Mielle Organics with one product. Four years later, she has over 30 products in major retailers including Sally’s, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. As a woman navigating the business world, Rodriguez came to realize the importance of adding a social impact program like MiGlow to her business model. “Having so many people look up to me and asking if I would mentor them is an honor,” said Rodriguez. “I just do what I love. I feel like I have been blessed with a platform that has a higher calling. The knowledge that I have is not for me to keep to myself, but to give back. Our young girls need to see and understand that you have to have standards and demand respect. If our young girls have standards and have good examples to look up to, I feel it can help with healing a lot of the issues that are going on in our community,” she said.
An impactful component of the iGlow program is the real world experiences young girls receive from professionals like Rodriguez and the mentoring that each receives from her peers. “During our mentoring programs, each active iGlow girl is assigned a mentor who encourages them to pursue their goals,” said Tomorrow. “More importantly the peer mentor walks them through life’s ups and downs. Our Perfect Match Mentoring system allows teen girls to flourish in their everyday activities because our mentors are coaches and their mentees’ number one fan. Our system is also unique because many of our program participants come back to iGlow as peer mentors,” said Tomorrow.
“Our system continually cycles the skills our participants gain through their experiences and spreads the knowledge acquired to the next generation. Naadia Griffin is an example of our full circle system where teen girls start as a participant in our program, progress into a teen mentor, and then create multi-generational changes in the community. In 2012, Griffin began as a program participant. Our mentors described her as being shy, reticent, but ambitious. However, Griffin has served as Head Peer Mentor of iGlow, she’s spoken at numerous events on behalf of iGlow, including giving an inspirational speech at a TEDx event last March. Now, she serves as the Program Coordinator for iGlow Mentoring,” she continued.
From Tomorrow’s work-related travels, she knows firsthand about the benefit of having a personal and professional, cultural appreciation. So exposing teen girls to a cross-cultural experience in London, to spark a cycle of self-discovery and cultural appreciation, was one of the first goals she set for her program. Through an online and group interview selection process, recipients of The MiGlow Award will receive a prize package that includes an all-expense paid trip to London, England, along with a 12-week curriculum that prepares them for international travel.