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This past Monday was our annual end-of-year Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) celebration! YWIL is our high school program that focuses on leadership development and college and career preparedness. The YWIL end-of-year celebration gives each girl in the program the opportunity to share what she has learned over the past school year, and address what her future goals are.

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Each girl is tasked with writing a letter to her future self that talks about where she is now, and where she hopes to be in the future. Deja-Marie, a senior in the program, shared the following letter with the audience.

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Dear Future Self,

It’s going to be the year 2030 when you read this letter. I’m writing this now in 2018 and I don’t know what you will grow up to be, but I have to assume that you will grow up as I hope. 

Right now you’re 17 years old living in Indianapolis, Indiana, studying hard for your high school diploma. You’re in a phase of transition from high school to college, becoming an adult. Remember that all these years of hard work will pay off and you will be grateful in the end. You were fortunate enough to have passionate friends that look out for one another, and a strong mother who keeps you motivated. You are headed in the right direction. You’re bright, confident, independent, and full of potential.

This will be your last year participating in YWIL and Girls Inc. This year’s YWIL has taught you to continue being a leader in all future experiences. One thing that really had an effect on you was the Michelle Obama conference. She talked about earning a seat at the table and to keep in mind that you were given that seat to bring a different point of view and not to just agree with what everyone else is saying. This inspired you to be more creative in the future and to follow your heart.

I hope you continue to pursue your dream of working for the FBI. In college, your goals will be to take risks, take on challenges, and make mistakes so you may continue to improve yourself. Social relationships will play a key role in your work, keep your eyes open and keep your friends close. With the new skills you may fulfill, this will prepare you for life after college.

Moreover, you are a person who is focused on her work, but keep in mind that there is always time to have fun. Family is also important, make time for them and be there when they need you. I hope you are fortunate enough to find a good man and build a family. So manage your time well, stay organized, and have no regrets. Last thing I need to tell you is that you can’t do it alone, sometimes you will need help from others to guide you, but you make the final decisions. Make smart decisions and stay strong.

Deja-Marie 

Congratulations Deja-Marie on your graduation this spring, and best of luck at Indiana State University! We wish you nothing but the best!

And a special thank you to all of our YWIL sponsors this year – without their support, this program would not be possible!

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