Written by Mackenzie Pickerrell, Chief Development Officer at Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis

As many of us think back to our fondness of our senior year, end of the year celebrations and graduation ceremonies might rise to the top of those memories. Unfortunately, that is not a reality for the Class of 2020. Our thoughts go out to all graduating seniors, especially the four young ladies in our 2019-2020 Young Women in Leadership class.

Our Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) program is a year-long program designed to enhance the leadership skills, college preparedness, and career development of young women in Indianapolis. YWIL prepares high school girls for the workforce, post-secondary education, and leadership in their communities. We are exceptionally proud of the ladies currently in the program and the graduating ladies before them, like Katie, a freshman at IU (please visit her featured story this month). This year, we have the pleasure of serving a powerful cohort of young leaders. There are four young ladies that especially stand out: Cyncere, Hannah, Illam, and Joleena.

These young ladies are the definition of strong, smart, and bold. All four young women have fine-tuned their resumes and interview skills, completed community service projects, and discovered how to market their own personal brand in preparation to confidently take their place in the world. Each of these ladies has put in the hard work to get to this point and is prepared to take their next step. The young women have developed a career plan and identified ways to get there. They have applied and been accepted to many colleges. They will be heading to Purdue University, Indiana University, and IUPUI in the fall. They have applied for many scholarships, and we are happy to report that each young woman has received multiple scholarships to attend post-secondary education, with one securing a full-ride. Together, these four women have 16 years of Girls Inc. programs underneath their belt. We know through their time with us, they have truly discovered how to be strong, smart, and bold leaders wherever they may go.

During this time, they deserve more. While we may not be able to gather and celebrate these phenomenal women, we can celebrate them from afar. Let us gather around them and other seniors you may know, to say:

We see you.

We are proud of you.

We support you.

We are here for you.

Consider supporting our young leaders as they celebrate this huge milestone. There are several ways to get involved. Visit our Amazon Wishlist to purchase items for the girls to take with them as they begin their next journey. Write a letter of support and encouragement to our young leaders as they prepare for graduation and their move to college (all letters can be mailed to Girls Inc. Indy at 3935 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN. 46208). Additionally, please consider a gift to help support the Young Women in Leadership program, so that we can continue to develop strong, smart, and bold leaders.

In closing, we leave you with a quote from Katie, a YWIL alumna, “I think every girl should have access to [YWIL]. Every girl should be able to go through [the program].” During such a vulnerable time in their lives, we know the impact that Girls Inc. and the YWIL program can have. Please help support these young leaders and the program today!