By cultivating strong relationships based on mutual trust and respect, Sisterhood of Aggie Mentors positively influences the lives of young women.
Sisterhood of Aggie Mentors, or SAM, is a student organization open to both Texas A&M and Blinn students striving to improve young women’s lives through mentorship. SAM trains members to act as confidants and advisors to young girls at Pecan Trail Intermediate school and in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In addition to their mentorship program, SAM members coordinate various events throughout the year to raise money for their philanthropy, the Mercy Project, and the Bryan-College Station area as a whole.
Supply chain management senior and SAM President Avery Davidson said the goal of the mentorship program is to instill positive characteristics, including the six A&M Core Values.
“We crafted lesson plans to help guide discussion between the mentors and their mentees regarding concepts of friendship, healthy boundaries, healthy relationships, personality differences, conflict resolution, self-esteem, self-worth, all of those sorts of things,” Davidson said.
For those lacking a reliable adult in their life, Davidson said SAM girls can be that constant presence.
“We want to be that person they can see as a support system and a consistent factor within their life because a lot of the kids that we work with come from more challenged backgrounds, though we do have kids with very healthy home backgrounds,” Davidson said. “We want to serve as a reliable, consistent confidant for them to show that they do have a support system beyond their family and friends and serve as that role model through our relationships and our mentorship program.”
Currently in-person, Davidson said the mentorship program is moving back to its original area of work within the school setting, working with the immediate school specifically this semester and expanding into more schools next semester.
“Something new is that we are partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters to serve teens that are enrolled in interfaith programs,” Davidson said. “So we're able to facilitate a really in-depth relationship between our mentors and their mentees because Big Brothers Big Sisters allows for a much greater one-on-one basis than would be allowed within the school system.”
About the organization’s various service events, general studies sophomore and SAM chair Meagan Coffee said the main focus is SAM Jam.
“[SAM Jam is] a concert we put on that benefits the Mercy Project, which is basically a non-profit that essentially takes kids out of forced labor,” Coffee said. “We also do little things throughout the semester, like some of our girls went and helped with BUILD’s projects. We do blood drives and profit shares and clothing drives, too.”
As a women’s organization, modern languages senior Lizzy Teague said the group has a unique approach to the concept of a service.
“We start out by mentoring each other and building strong relationships with each other, then move to mentoring the broader community,” Teague said. “Even through the COVID[-19] era of Zoom last year, the members consistently showed up, supported their mentees, and supported each other so well.”
Teague said the authentic women in SAM have always encouraged her to be herself, love others well and grow as a person.
“Those same encouragements are given directly to the mentees,” Teague said. “Although not every interaction with our mentees goes as planned, these girls have never backed down from a challenge. Even over Zoom, our mentees were opening up about their difficult home lives and struggles in school showed so clearly the intentional love that each mentor in SAM has for others.”
Coffee said the biggest thing she’s gotten out of SAM is consistent self growth and reflection.
“It’s really forced me to think about what I needed as a kid. ‘What did I want out of an adult relationship where I could talk about whatever I wanted or just have someone to talk to?’ Trying to become that type of woman has been one of the biggest things, and I think SAM is definitely the place for that transformation,” Coffee said. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this and be able to listen to all the speakers, talk to the kids, and go to the events because I think it’s made me into a better woman, and someone that as a young kid, I could look up to.”