STL Today Highlights Annie Schlafly as One of the Area Volunteers

Thanks for Giving: Highlighting the volunteer work that makes St. Louis better


Annie Schlafly


Annie Schlafly founded and runs the International Mentoring program, which pairs local women with women from other countries who have arrived in St. Louis. She is photographed on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Clayton offices of the organization. Photo by Christian Gooden,


They wanted to help women from other countries who were living in St. Louis to better connect to the area. So they launched a program to match them with local women.

"I’m from here, and I love St. Louis. But I hear from others about what a tough city it is to crack," said Schlafly, who runs the mentoring program with Gobbo.

Two years later, the program has grown from a group of 10 participants to 190. Women from other countries are paired with St. Louis mentors. There are six one-on-one meetings between the mentors and mentees, plus group meetings and other get-togethers including trips to Blues and Cardinals games, cooking events and a book club.

"It keeps fueling itself," said Schlafly, 67, who lives in the Central West End. 

Mentors range in age from 25 to 55, and mentees from 23 to 75. The program's goals include helping women acclimate to St. Louis and American culture and traditions, as well as being a resource for the international community here while helping forge friendships between women from St. Louis and from around the world.  

"Annie has these ideas and wants to bring people together and she wants them to love St. Louis," said Betsy Cohen, executive director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, which supports the spouses group and the mentoring program. "Her commitment is boundless." The Mosaic Project is an initiative of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center St. Louis that supports immigration as helping invigorate the region.

Now Schlafly is working to train new leaders for group meetings.

“It is our job to make sure people know what a great town this is," Schlafly said. "And this program is doing it."


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