Strong Girls Make Our World a Better Place

Strong girls.jpg

In celebration of Earth Day, my client, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, is launching the Forever Green Initiative. I love working with the Girl Scouts and have met many young women who, I am certain, will be leaders in our country one day.  The kids/teens whatever you call them today seem different than they used to…or at least different than I used to be.  They care about world issues and making the world a better place.  I have to give a little plug for these gals as we are launching the Forever Green Blog as part of the initiative. Three amazingly talented young Girl Scouts will be blogging about the importance of living Green beginning with a fun recycling initiative sponsored by Motorola and the Chicago Sky, our professional women’s basketball team.   Be sure to check it out at: www.chicagonow.com/blogs/forever-green.

I’ve always loved to volunteer and mentor girls. I was 27 when I started tutoring a 12-year-old girl in Cabrini Green. I met with her weekly, helped her with homework, listened to her talk about boys, and we even got to more important things like sex education and college.  In between attempting to do long division math, I chatted with her about dating and all girls’ insecurities about body image. I still remember her valuable advice on guys… “Girl, only dogs like bones!”

After a few years, I told her I had to stop tutoring because I was missing too many sessions due to traveling for work. She seemed upset but adjusted over time. Then one day she called me and told me when she was pregnant at 16. This was somewhat of a blow as I immediately thought what did I do? Where did I go wrong?  I kept this to myself and simply said I really hoped she’d at least finish school.  I didn’t hear from her for a while and one day she called and said “Candice, you’ll be real proud of me. I am going to college to be a nurse.” I took her to a congratulatory lunch, along with her baby and a few other siblings – at least I think they were.

We still stay in touch. She makes me proud. 

I highly recommend mentoring our boys and girls. They really do need role models and it is a very fulfilling experience.  My work with young girls provides me with somewhat of a glimpse of what it will be like to mother a girl.  It also gives me the confidence to take someone as they are for better or for worse. 

Interested in mentoring?  Here are a few great options:

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
http://www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org/

Cabrini Green Connections
http://www.cabriniconnections.net/

Girls on the Run
http://www.girlsontherun.org/

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