Mentors for Mom

Each of our scholarship recipients receives a volunteer mentor through ANSWER’s Mentors for Mom program. Mentors offer support and guidance on managing the challenges of raising a family, work and school.

Recipients call and meet with their mentors to get good advice, a sounding board, or a little reassurance that they can succeed. Recipients and mentors also meet as a group once a month. They share experiences and hear speakers on essential topics, such as household budgeting and strategies for job interviews.

Past recipients describe Mentors for Mom as “extremely important” and “essential” in their quest to earn a college degree as a mom.

Please meet our 2014-15 mentors below.


Sonya Muhammad, Program Coordinator

Sonya Muhammad knew at a young age that she was meant to teach, lead and empower. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) as a divorced mother of two daughters while working third-shift at a high-end grocery store as a means to finance her education. After earning a BSW from UNC Charlotte, Muhammad obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) through an advanced-standing program which afforded her the chance to earn her MSW in one year.

Sonya has been recognized by the North Carolina Social Work Board as a licensed mental health therapist. She plans to pursue her Ph. D. in forensic psychotherapy.

A two-time ANSWER Endowment scholarship recipient, Sonya now has come full circle and volunteers as a mentor with ANSWER’s Mentors for Moms program as well as serving as the program coordinator. She vows to continue to make teaching, leadership and empowerment the cornerstones of her existence, always remembering to pull others through the doors of opportunities.


Hisayo Gallo

Hisayo Gallo was born and raised in Japan. She graduated from Toyo University with a B.S. in Sociology. Hisayo came to the United States to study linguistics and psychology as a graduate student at the University Of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After getting a master’s degree, she began teaching psychology, focusing on developmental psychology. Her main interests are brain and cognitive development.

Gallo authored a developmental psychology textbook a couple of years ago and now (already!) working on revising it. She is currently teaching developmental psychology at Gaston College. She is married to a wonderful guy, Al, living in Huntersville (with 2 cats and a dog who rule the house). She also has 3 grown sons.