Blog & News

Mentee Spotlight: Jasmin Parks, Entrepreneur + Passionate Disabilities Advocate

by W2WM Senior Program Assistant Andrea Baker

Entrepreneur and passionate disabilities advocate Jasmin Parks was in our CORE Program Class #19 right before the pandemic hit. During that rocky time, Jasmin was working with her mentor Mary Ledyard, a special education teacher and private tutor, on transitioning into a new job as Career Advisor with Goodwill Monocacy Valley and jump starting her tea business InTEAlectuals. When she started the CORE Program, Jasmin was “looking for a person who would encourage me to be forward (a cheerleader of sorts). Someone who would steer me in the right direction and help me lock in on the positive in my life and keep moving forward.” Mary was looking to “offer my life experience and energy to do my small part to help another women realize her full potential and recognize how spectacular she is. Having the opportunity to connect with other women, can be a very life-giving and powerful experience.”

Since joining forces, Jasmin says, “I have learned so much! I can go on forever with the things I have learned from Mary. To name a few, I have learned to believe in myself and take on challenges that I would have normally shy away of. Mary has also taught me how to be a great listener and a compassionate person. I am truly blessed to call her a friend and mentor.” We can honestly say that Jasmin was already a great listener and compassionate person! Perhaps Mary helped her see those qualities in a new light. What was already there, shines even brighter in Jasmin. Mary says, “We were a perfect match right from the start. Similar thinking, interests, yet so different and able to offer so much insight into life for one another. It has been a pleasure to support her and help her develop life goals.”

To mentees Jasmin says…

“Don’t be afraid of being open and vulnerable. We grow the most when we are placed in uncomfortable situations. I have always been a lone wolf with my many walls. I didn’t like letting people in, so a mentorship was a scary thing for me. With time, I started to realize this “letting people in” thing wasn’t as bad as I thought. I began noticing changes in how I thought. Before, I was so quick to see the value in others, but not necessarily myself. Now, I found that voice that allowed me to be confident. I even shocked myself and my mentor when I built up the courage to chase my dream of starting my own tea business. I went from “I don’t think I’m good enough” or ” I would have no idea how to start my own business ” to ” why not? It sounds like an adventure”. The switch in mindset was well welcomed. My mentor was there and continues to be there cheering me on the entire way. It may be new or uncomfortable to let a new person into your life, but it is oh so worth it. You must be willing to take the first step.”

And to someone who is seeking a mentor, Jasmin says

“Do it! Allow yourself to be open and truly take advantage of such an amazing opportunity. Give the relationship 100%. You only get out what you put in. You might think that a mentor has nothing in common with you, but You never know the value or impact a person may have on your life until you willing to give it a try. Don’t sell yourself or this opportunity short.”

Mary says, “I encourage you to explore all possibilities within your career choice, and do not limit yourself! Talk with others who have chosen the same career, shadow them at work, and build a network of other career-minded people. Stay positive! Learn from the smallest experiences and set goals for professionally and personally to develop the skills that you need to be successful. The support and bonds of friendship that are formed through the W2WM programs are limitless. Meeting, a new people and sharing thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, and forming a strong bond and connection to another person is truly amazing! In a world where trust can be difficult, this program provides a safe-haven for all women to share their lives and be accepted for who they are.”

Interested in joining the next class of the CORE Program? Learn more here. 


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