When Leslie began attending Girls Inc. of Tarrant County seven years ago, she was nervous and unsure of what was to come. The idea of opening up and being vulnerable in a room full of new people was intimidating. But it didn’t take long for Girls Inc. to feel like home. Leslie quickly formed strong bonds with her peers and developed a lasting relationship with her mentor, Ms. Haugabook.
Leslie graduated high school in May and recently began her freshman year at Austin College in Sherman, TX. She reflects on the great times, incredible opportunities, and amazing people she has met throughout her Girls Inc. experience. She is grateful to have been a part of a sisterhood, having a network of support around her that helped her through the challenges of middle school and beyond.
“I’ve been supported and guided through some of the hardest years by the light in the hearts of Girls Inc. staff. I’ve been inspired, enlightened, and gifted with a team of support I can’t afford to lose, and most certainly will never forget. For that I am a better person.”
Inspired by the dedication of women at Girls Inc., Leslie began to develop her own passion for teaching and leading others. She volunteered in preschool classrooms at her church, worked as an instructor at Young Chefs Academy, and started “Sisters Assisting Sixth Grade Sisters” (SASS), a mentoring program at her school. She even produced a comprehensive SASS curriculum for the 6th grade mentees, informed the knowledge she built at Girls Inc.
Leslie’s love for children and education have inspired her aspirations to shape young minds in the classroom. She is part of a 5-year masters in teaching program, beginning coursework as an English major. Leslie plans to be one of the those teachers who breaks the mold of traditional education and truly enhances the lives of the next generation. She wants to set children up for “self-made success” by instilling a true passion for learning in them.
“I have grown up at Girls Inc. With my mentor and my Girls Inc. sisters, I have matured here. There’s no question about who I am and what I value. I know where I stand, and Girls Inc. has given me the confidence to speak up about it.”