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Empowering girls is an important mission

Devon McManama

Posted on February 08 2018

Empowering girls is an important mission

If you have a daughter, you can probably identify with Devon – she’s the ‘me’ in Me & Kay. Devon launched the business because she wanted to provide a strong, positive role model for her daughter, Kayla.  She wanted Kayla to know that girls can do anything.  

Sadly, not all girls have the same opportunities and the same amazing role model that Kayla has. Fortunately, there are organizations like Girls Inc. spreading the message that girls rock far and wide!  

Girls Inc. was founded in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War. “Across the decades, we adapted to meet the specific environmental challenges facing girls and young women, always working in partnership with schools and communities, and guided by our founders’ fundamental belief in the inherent potential of each girl,” their website says. “Woven into those early girls’ clubs are the same core values of Girls Inc. today: the importance of creating a safe gathering place for girls to learn and to share in a sisterhood and a strong premise that each girl can develop her own capacities, self- confidence, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.” 

If you visit the Girls Inc. website, you’ll find a wealth of inspiring stories about the girls whose lives have been touched by the nonprofit organization. Like Kelsey, who learned how to believe in herself, and used that power to become an advocate and community organizer. Girls Inc. has an Alumnae Scholarship program that enabled Kelsey to study in Washington D.C. for a summer and intern with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. According to the organization’s website, that’s where she cultivated her passion for helping others and learned more about civic engagement, public policy, and government relations. 

  • Girls Inc. helped Christina gain the confidence she needed to not only set goals, but to achieve them. 
  • Leslie says she’s a better person because of the time she’s spent with Girls Inc., which provided her with a support network that sustained her through some difficult years. 
  • Girls Inc. showed Elizabeth that everyone deserves respect and that she does not have to stay trapped in the cycle of abusive relationships. 

The organization has a powerful Girls Bill of Rights on its website that every mother should see.

https://girlsinc.org/app/uploads/2017/04/girls_bill_of_rights_2014.pdf.   

Among other things, their Bill of Rights says that girls have the right to: 

  • take risks to strive freely and to take pride in success 
  • accept and appreciate their bodies. 
  • have confidence in themselves and be safe in the world. 
  • prepare for interesting work and economic independence. 
Maybe someday, we can take all of these things for granted,
but until then, we need to support and encourage
the people and programs who are encouraging and inspiring
girls and young women all across this country. 

That includes Girls Inc., which has more than 1,400 sites in 400 cities across the United States and Canada serving girls ages 6 to 18. The dedicated professionals and volunteers at every one of those 1,400 sites are working to teach girls to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they face. And their efforts are paying off! 

Programming provided by Girls Inc. has helped young women across the country: 

  • increase their level of physical activity and view their bodies more positively.
  • improve their outlook and performance in school.
  • enhance their self and emotional control. 

On top of that, the organization reports: 

  • 89% of the girls it works with find science or math interesting. 
  • 92% of Girls Inc. teens say they can use what they know to solve “real-life” problems in their communities. 

Pretty terrific, right?  We hope there are people and organizations in your community teaching young girls how amazing they are and encouraging them to reach for the stars!  

It’s good to remind ourselves from time to time of our good fortune and to think about the girls who don’t enjoy summer trips to the beach in a new suit from Submarine Swim.  Those of us who can dress our daughters and granddaughters, our nieces and our friends baby girls in the beautiful clothes made by incredible designers like Tutu du Monde, Stella Cove and Hannah Banana are so very lucky.  If you have a gratitude journal, you’ve probably already said that dozens of times this year - but it always bears repeating. 

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