Meet Ann, an alumna who shares what her Girls Inc. Experience gave to her during the childhood and teen years she spent at Girls Inc. of Sarasota County.
What did you learn and how were you helped through the Girls Inc. Experience?
I spent my entire childhood and teen years at Girls Inc. Sarasota (7-14) and worked as a counselor for two years, starting when I was 15 years old. Coming from a single-parent home, my mother made sure I was immersed in an uplifting environment. Relocating from New York we didn’t know anyone and through Girls Inc. I was able to be an active park of dozens of programs that enriched me with positive self-esteem and tools at an early age. It was long-lasting, impactful programming that I was able to use when I was a young adult and beyond.
I went through Educational Talent Search, the first college connect program that Girls Inc. offered, and had support of mentors like Charlotte Hinman, who led the program and became my key to higher education. Because of Girls Inc. I was able to receive scholarships that allowed me to pursue dreams that I had no idea I could make come true. I owe much of my success and getting into college to Girls Inc. My sincerest thanks goes to the donors who made it possible for me to receive a scholarship when times were hard for my mother. Their generous support allowed me a healthy, successful, abundant life full of gratitude.
A few mementos of the time Ann spent as a girl at Girls Inc. of Sarasota County.
Healthy Mind and Body
Another Girls Inc. program that impacted my self-image was Girls on TV – a media literacy program. We had to analyze TV shows in terms of how they depicted girls. I was given the tools to recognize healthy images and positive roles versus those that devalued girls. I also learned how to cook and prepare healthy meals with counselors during my Girls Inc. time and when the opportunity came to work as a camp counselor during summers in high school and after school, it was so rewarding to be able to draw on and share what I had learned during my own Girls Inc. experience.
What is your current profession or career?
In 2020 I began a new career in real estate. Before I made that leap, I worked for the Alumni Association of University of Central Florida, my alma mater, for almost 10 years. My career in non-profit was impactful and rewarding as I was able to mentor and give back to students from diverse backgrounds based on the life lessons I gained at Girls Inc.
What advice would you give to girls knowing what you know now?
Your inner voice is your biggest hurdle so love yourself. A healthy mindset is priceless. You are worthy. Play big!