year 2, week 34: this week i'm gonna... inspire girls to break barriers
Growing up, Yvonne struggled to have a strong relationship with her mother, not receiving the attention or care she needed. It was also difficult for her to bond with other women in her family or find role models who could help her set education and career goals. Yvonne blamed herself for this lack of love and began to self-harm as a result. Thankfully, she found Girls Inc. while in middle school.
Through her experiences with Girls Inc., Yvonne began to feel the care and support she had been missing. She realized that she was not alone in feeling lonely or hopeless about the future. At Girls Inc., she found mentors who helped her envision a bright future and support to heal emotionally, as well as improve her relationship with her mother.
This fall, Yvonne will attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to major in International Business and Management with a minor in Communication. She plans to complement her studies with adventures abroad in Germany, Italy, France, and China. After college, Yvonne wants to start an entertainment company that focuses on women in the sports and entertainment industries.
“When I look at my life today, it’s hard to imagine being the 12-year-old-girl who wanted to hurt herself instead of getting help," says Yvonne. "I am proud of myself. I have come a long way. With Girls Inc. by my side showing me the light of day, I know that I am loved, seen, and heard.”
Girls Inc. develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation. Their comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
These positive outcomes are achieved through three core elements:
- People - trained staff and volunteers who build lasting, mentoring relationships
- Environment - girls-only, physically and emotionally safe, where there is a sisterhood of support, high expectations, and mutual respect
- Programming - research-based, hands-on and minds-on, age-appropriate, meeting the needs of today’s girls.
Informed by girls and their families, Girls Inc. also advocates for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls.
To learn more about Girls Inc., please watch the video below:
Last summer, Girls Inc. expanded their cutting edge Healthy Sexuality program, making it available to the more than 80 affiliates in the Girls Inc. network. The new program encompasses four focus areas: healthy relationships; sexuality; sexual health and reproduction; and sex, media, and technology. There are also enhanced activities to help guide conversations at home around these often tough topics.
“Girls are growing up in a fast-paced, complex world with unprecedented access to sexual information, messages, and images -- many of which promote behaviors, relationships, or attitudes that pose challenges to their sexual health,” states Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO of Girls Inc. “Girls need accurate, truthful information, the trust and support of caring adults and mentors, and the know-how to use technology in a positive way.”
This emphasis on “Truth, Trust, and Technology” equips girls at Girls Inc. to own and take charge of their sexual health. At the core of the Girls Inc. healthy sexuality work is also the foundational belief in girls’ rights and abilities. “When girls have a strong sense of personal power and self-worth, they are able to make informed decisions based on their own values and beliefs,” says Vredenburgh.
To ensure a program that is accurate, relevant, and cutting-edge, Girls Inc. collaborated with a diverse group of esteemed institutions and leaders, including continued collaboration with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a relationship that began more than 30 years ago.
Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, states, "The best progress is made through strong partnerships, and we are proud of working side-by-side with Girls Inc. as they continue their important work in making sure that all girls and women – no matter who they are or where they live – have the power to decide their futures."
Notes for this week:
- Women's Equality Day is Aug. 26th -- this is the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote!
- Our collective givetwig donation will help a girl attend Girls Inc. for the school year, sparking her curiosity and ability to take smart risks, ensuring that she is equipped with the knowledge and drive she needs to graduate on-time and succeed in college.
- For more information on Girls Inc., please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Girls Inc.