Skip to main content

Connecting middle schoolers with Stanford student mentors

Callan Showers, ’19, shares how gifts through The Stanford Fund helped shape her experiences at Stanford.

Callan Showers, ’19 (second from left), with fellow members, getting out the word about Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE).

For four years, Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE) has allowed me to have a role in dozens of young women’s lives—both our middle school mentees and college-age mentors. The group is the cornerstone of my Stanford experience, and it’s helped me grow into a leader and a more compassionate person.

WYSE is a student-run organization that connects Stanford women with middle school girls in East Palo Alto. We plan and facilitate mentorship sessions for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade girls about topics including body image, race and discrimination, sexual health, and puberty. We hope to empower our mentees to make healthy life choices and feel confident in their own skin. My work with WYSE is a constant reminder that my four years at Stanford are really so much bigger than myself. Being paired with a middle school mentee has challenged how I think about and enact “service” in my life. It’s taught me that leadership means listening, showing up, and acting with love. These small but meaningful intentions create trust and facilitate dialogue across age and identity. I wouldn’t have gained this insight without WYSE.

Callan cheering on Stanford at the 2018 Big Game.

As the daughter of two Stanford grads, I grew up visiting campus with stars in my eyes. But I never wanted to get my hopes up that attending Stanford could be possible for me. Now, as a senior, I still feel grateful every day for the chance to live and study here. Thank you so much for supporting groups like WYSE, financial aid programs, and undergrad academics. Without your support, Stanford would be a less intellectually and socially vibrant place for young adults to thrive.