As an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Jonelle Saunders participated in Strong Women, Strong Girlsâwhich connects female college-student mentors with elementary school-aged girls in Pittsburgh, Miami, and Boston.
âAs one of the few minority college-aged mentors participating,â
Saunders says, âI felt a special connection to these girls, and many of
them looked up to me as a role model for what they could one day be. I
wanted to do something with the girls that would show them that they are
equipped with the tools to make change in the world.â
Thatâs exactly what she did. After applying to the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program
as a CMU masters student in healthcare policy and management, Saunders
partnered with Strong Women, Strong Girls to create âSupporting Our
Causeââa Schweitzer project that has now been replicated in nine
Pittsburgh-area schools and recently won theÂ Jefferson Award Youth Service Challenge.
The project awakens the advocacy and entrepreneurial skills of girls
in third through fifth grade, teaching them about toxicity in personal
care products; helping them develop, market, and sell their own
safe and natural personal care products; and encouraging them to act as
catalysts for change in their own communities and neighborhoods.
Now a student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School,
Saunders spoke with us about the continuing impact of her Schweitzer
projectâand her continuing commitment to addressing health disparities.
CLICK HERE to read a Five Questions for a Fellow interview with Saunders on ASF’s official blog.