Newswise — CFES Brilliant Pathways and Colgate-Palmolive joined forces on September 30 for a day of e-mentoring over 1,200 students in 16 schools across New York and Florida with a focus on college and career readiness. 

Colgate Cares Day 2020 matched employee volunteers with CFES students in rural and urban areas that have been isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic and in need of mentoring and college and career advice. Mentors, many of whom were first-generation college students, shared their own pathways and strategies to utilize CFES Essential Skills like perseverance and agility to overcome obstacles and reach their postsecondary goals. 

“It was wonderful to have a dialogue with a great group of engaging students and discuss the limitless possibilities of their future,” said Colgate mentor Prashanth Jayachandran, an attorney at Colgate. “CFES Brilliant Pathway is an amazing program, and I was so proud to be part of it today. The organization truly reflects one of Colgate's core values – caring!” 

The first-ever virtual event is part of ongoing mentoring that CFES provides its 20,000 students across the United States. CFES partners with 200 colleges and several businesses to provide mentors and role models for its students. Rick Dalton, president and CEO of CFES, said that Colgate Cares, “was an extraordinary success. The 18 volunteer employees from Colgate connected with our students in every one of our schools. They provided encouragement and strategic advice that lifted up our children.” 

Colgate Mentor Josue Munoz, Vice President Global Supply Chain and Demand & Systems, said sharing some of his experiences was extremely energizing and that he looks forward to talking with more students. Chelsea Garner, assistant brand manager for Colgate’s Global Marketing Development Program, found the experience to be as meaningful for her as the students she presented to in a panel discussion via Google Hangout. 

“It was an honor to share my story with the students involved in CFES Brilliant Pathways,” said Gardner, “I always want to acknowledge how important it is to reflect on your past, so you can continue to propel forward, and CFES did a wonderful job centering that in today's space. Giving back is ingrained in the Colgate Culture and this opportunity was emblematic of how we prioritize care and are committed to seeing young people thrive in academia as well as in life.” 

CFES Fellows supported students at schools and at home to ensure that they connected virtually. At Beekmantown Middle School, 220 students listened to mentors talk about the value of hard work and the range of jobs that exist at Colgate-Palmolive. “Students were in awe of the amount of work the employees did internationally and the variety of jobs at the company they didn’t even know existed,” said CFES-GEAR UP Fellow Brett McClelland.   

CFES Brilliant Pathways is an international non-profit that has helped over 100,000 students become college and career ready since 1991.