Meet Imani Reynolds, a Girls Inc. of Central Alabama Alumna. Imani attended Girls Inc. for 7 years. She is currently a Senior Marketing Analyst at an Atlanta media company and writes & distributes her own women’s empowerment newsletter – a passion project of hers! She shares her favorite memories at Girls Inc. and gives advice to young girls to grow up strong, smart, and bold.
Favorite Memories at Girls Inc.
Girls Inc. would often bring guest speakers to share their stories with us. One year, I had the honor of hearing from Vonetta Flowers, the first Black athlete from any country to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics. I might have been in the 3rd or 4th grade at the time, but I remember the impact she had on me and others. Storytelling is all about finding common ground through shared experiences. When a person can see themselves in your story, they can see their capacity to make change.
I still remember the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights thanks to a cheer we had. In the cheer, we’d say “Be original, enthusiastic, take risks! Pursue your goals and take pride in your accomplishments.” Girls Inc. helped me to grow in all of those areas and so many more. I show up as a leader in my own life by setting scarily ambitious goals, taking on calculated risks, and being willing to try something for the second, third, and 5,000th time.
Another great memory at Girls Inc. was when our 6th grade cooking class prepared a nice dinner for all of our parents. The broccoli was a bit “charred” (thanks to myself), but we all got a really good laugh out of it. I loved that my parents got to be part of that experience with me.
Girls Inc. played such a huge role in my coming of age, my personal development, and my willingness to take risks in life. It’s been more than 14 years since my last summer camp at Girls Inc. and I’m still drawing on the lessons I learned there.
I used to be quite shy during my later grade school years, up through high school. Girls Inc., was one of the first places where I found my “fit’ and a sense of belonging. Girls Inc. not only fostered some great friendships in my life, but it also made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself–-a pretty remarkable feeling for a girl in her formative years.
Advice I would give to girls, knowing what I know now
Take the time to decide what you want for your life. There will be many moments when you second-guess yourself, you question the path that you’ve chosen, and you compare yourself to others. What you may not realize, though, is that everyone else is trying to figure things out too. Take all the time you need.
To the supporters of Girls Inc.
To all the supporters of Girls Inc., thank you for supporting this amazing organization. Pro-girl environments and communities are not only vital to girls themselves, but also to the fabric of our society. We have a responsibility to girls— as they become our future leaders—to equip them with character, confidence, and perseverance.