Wow! In January, I will celebrate my 8 year anniversary with Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. Time flies when you’re having fun! I joined GIGI in 2009 reorganizing the agency’s volunteer program model before being promoted to Director of Programs in 2011.

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But my connection to Girls Inc. began nearly 10 years ago, when I started as a volunteer program facilitator leading conflict resolution programs for girls and participating in the Lunch Bunch programs. As a volunteer, I fell in love with the mission and I sought an opportunity to do more for the girls in which the agency served, just when I thought I was helping them, they were helping me…inspiring me to be strong, building up my confidence to be smart and encouraging me to use my voice and be bold, in a short period of time, I learned how important the agency is to the community and I fell in love with the work…I use the word “work” loosely as I do not feel as if I am performing a job, I am performing a RESPONSIBILITY and I do not take it lightly. I have found that it is my sole purpose to be the voice of thousands of girls that do not have a voice! On their behalf, every day I wake up…

I speak on reason – we must ensure that we are providing intentional programming that fill in the gaps for our girls.

I speak on empowerment – we place a strong emphasis on exposing our girls to staff and volunteers that will encourage them to reach for the stars.

I speak on accountability – we must provide girls the tools to navigate their own decision making, we must teach them how to think, not what to think.

I speak on strength – we must inspire all girls to be themselves, and to be confident in who they are and determined to become who they dream to be.

I speak on change – we must inform girls that there is no statute of limitations on starting over, you can reinvent yourself every day if you need to.

I speak on growth – we must encourage girls to let go of the idea that they must always be who they have always been, in time they will grow and mature into successful young women!

I speak on taking risks – we teach girls that they are all winners; even if they go for it and it doesn’t work out, they still win. It is important that we believe in our gut instincts enough to head straight into something that frightens us, as this type of bravery will take us to higher places.

I speak on respect – we ask girls to embrace differences, share similarities and be open to the opinions of others; it is important to respectful of all people.

I speak on trust – we each have an obligation in our work, there are no excuses, when you have thousands of girls that depend on you to ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in programs that will aid them in becoming healthy, educated and independent young women!

Today, as I sit in my office as the Vice President of Development and Public Relations for Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis, I am even more inspired to continue this great work in my newest role. As I speak on behalf of the girls to the individuals that support our great work, I am speaking on behalf of all of those that feel like they do not have a voice in an ever-changing society – I encourage you to be strong, smart and bold in all you do, it will take you the most beautiful destinations.