At Girls Inc. we believe in the power of mentoring because we've seen countless girls whose lives have been transformed through building long-lasting relationships with trusted Girls Inc. staff. The value of mentoring is a key component to the work we do at Girls Inc. because it guarantees a girl that there is someone who cares about her growth and sees her potential.
Throughout the month of January, in celebration of National Mentoring Month, we are highlighting some of the Girls Inc. staff who exemplify the work we do across our network and the lasting impact they have on Girls Inc. girls.
When Shantia started going to Girls Inc., she often felt out of place as a foster child and acted out at school. However, Ms. Krystal recognized her intelligence and resilience. She encouraged Shantia to try new things, never underestimate her abilities, and take on leadership roles. Ms. Krystal is this key support for so many girls in New York City by taking time to listen, helping them see their strengths in the face of barriers or stereotypes, and checking in on their lives at school, home, and outside activities. As she has taken on increasing responsibilities within her role, Ms. Krystal always maintains focus on the girls first.
For many Girls Inc. girls, mentors become their strongest supporters, advisors, and role models. For two sisters, Melissa and Alexandra, their mentor was someone who helped them be the first ones in their family to graduate from high school, receive scholarships, and enroll in college. They credit their mentor, Ms. Becky, Director of Girls Programming at Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, with not only encouraging them to break past barriers and achieve their goals, but providing the support system to help them realize their dreams.
Today, Melissa is a senior in high school and Alexandra is in her second year at Texas State University. They stay in touch with Ms. Becky as she continues to be a trusted confidante who they describe as their "guardian angel." Ms. Becky remains a dedicated mentor to other Girls Inc. girls and inspires them to achieve just as she inspired Melissa and Alexandra.
For over 20 years, Ms. Ruby of Girls Inc. of Columbus and Phenix-Russell (GA) has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Girls Inc. girls. One of her greatest achievements was starting a local Girls Inc. theater program to help girls build confidence, gain public speaking skills, and find their unique voice. The program gives girls a safe, supportive space to open up about their lives and the issues they face. There, Ruby also encourages teens to be role models for younger girls. One of the young women she has mentored was Caroline, who was shy and often felt different because of her love of science when she began going to Girls Inc. When, as a teen, she became ill and had to withdraw from school for treatment, Ruby supported her in staying positive and focusing on being healthy and her future. Today, Caroline is pursuing her passion for engineering in college.
As Teen Program Director at Girls Inc. of the Island City, Shampale knows the importance of encouraging girls to believe in themselves. She is open, honest, supportive, and inviting to every teen girl and assures them that they can achieve greatness. She also inspires middle and high school girls to see that they are role models for peers and younger girls. One of these girls is Lilly, who began attending Girls Inc. after trying several other after-school programs. Shampale recognized something special in Lilly. She taught Lilly how to express herself through writing her own poems and encouraged her to read them aloud in front of nearly 70 girls, despite Lilly’s stage fright. Thanks to Shampale’s encouragement, Lilly now embraces opportunities to try new activities and challenges.
Ashley is a Program Specialist who mentors the younger girls at Girls Inc. of Holyoke, helping them explore science and math, introducing them to new sports, and promoting their literacy skills and love of learning. She is dedicated to making every girl feel welcome and comfortable at Girls Inc. and finding fun, engaging ways to teach girls skills that will be critical as they go on to middle and high school. Ashley leads their group mentoring program where girls learn to be strong role models and discover their leadership and academic potential. In the past, Ashley was invited by Mass Mentoring Partnership to speak about the power of mentoring.