Michelle is a Girls Inc. National Scholar and high school senior from Durham in Ontario, Canada. For the past seven years, Girls Inc. has been Michelle’s home away from home; a nurturing place that has fueled her interests in women’s rights and standing up and speaking out against gender stereotypes and limiting images of women and girls.
From a young age, Michelle was a shy, introverted girl. To avoid attention, she would often find ways to just blend in with the crowd. She was nervous to speak with others, especially meeting new people. However, she would soon discover that Girls Inc. was all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. Slowly, over time, Michelle’s confidence grew due in part to the various activities and experiences she had at Girls Inc.
Michelle found in Girls Inc. a safe haven where she could ask questions and develop new ideas about issues that weren’t being discussed in the classroom, such as gender inequality and the feminist movement. Engaging in these important discussions allowed Michelle to find her voice and aided in her growing into the strong, self confident young woman she is today.
“I learned acceptance of oneself is key to living a healthy life, which saved me from the struggles that I saw other girls encountering. I accepted who I am and became comfortable in my own skin. I embraced my flaws to the point that I no longer recognized them. I was no longer concerned about the negative things society or others thought of me.”
During her time at Girls Inc., Michelle took part in GirlZONE and GirlSPACE programs, which presented her the opportunity to speak about Viola Desmond who challenged racial segregation and made history in Canada. Michelle also had the opportunity to serve as a mentor for Girls Inc., helping encourage others and inspiring them to believe in themselves. As a mentor, Michelle learned the leadership and interpersonal skills necessary for advocacy and community action.
Michelle’s future goals include attending college to study accounting. She hopes to use her love for business and mathematics to one day become a Certified Public Accountant. With the passion and skills cultivated at Girls Inc., she plans to be one the top businesswomen in North America.