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Featured Volunteer: Learaina Durbin

Programs facilitated: Work It Out, Redefining Beauty, Media Lit
1) How did you learn about Girls Inc.?

I learned about Girls Inc. through a Corporate Lunch and Learn at Genesys.

2) Why did you choose to volunteer with Girls Inc.?

The mission of Girls Inc attracted me on a personal level. It’s not just a challenge to be a young girl in today’s world, it’s hard. I want to help these young ladies learn to be independent, smart, and fearless. I try to show them how to be the best version of themselves, to believe they can achieve whatever they dream or aspire to be or accomplish, to be confident and develop an unwavering belief in themselves.

3) What have you enjoyed most about volunteering with Girls Inc.?

Watching the girls’ belief in themselves improve as well as watching them develop the skills that will allow them to be confident as they grow and develop their dreams and goals.

4) Does any facilitation memory or any one of the girls stand out to you? Explain.

One of the girls, named Heaven, had lost her dad 3 months before. She was reluctant to participate because she was still grieving her loss and she was afraid the other girls would make fun of her. During one particularly trying session with the girls, we were discussing how to deal with difficult situations, she tried to talk about how hard it was without her dad and started to cry. A couple of the other girls started to snicker and make fun, and while that was addressed and stopped quickly, it was only when I shared that I had recently lost my own daughter that she began to blossom and participate more fully. By the end of the program she was fully engaged and participating. I watched her go from a timid and scared young lady to one who was more confident and independent.

5) Why do you think Girls Inc. programs are beneficial to girls?

These programs provide the foundation for the girls to develop fundamental skills that they may not otherwise learn. The programs show them what it means to believe in themselves, as well as provide opportunities for them to interact with mentors who really care about them and help them understand that they can achieve the goals they choose to pursue.

6) Have you noticed any changes in your own life since volunteering with Girls Inc.?

I find myself applying some of the principles we teach the girls to my own relationships, both personal and professional. Spending time with the girls has also played a large role in my own healing process after losing my own daughter last summer.

7) What kind of things have you learned after facilitating a Girls Inc. program?

These girls are being exposed to bullying, violence, being put down, and learning self-defeating behaviors at a very early age and that for some, the only encouragement or support they receive comes from their teachers and program facilitators

8) Tell a tip for volunteer program facilitators about volunteering or working as a team.

Remember that every young girl has a story and deserves your patience, understanding, and acceptance. The impact you make will stay with them.

9) Tell a tip for Girls Inc. Girls.

Be true to yourselves and believe that you can do whatever you dream – regardless of what the world tells you.

What are your thoughts? Share below!

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