If you attended a school where the reputation of the school was “the last stop.” A place where “delinquents” and “children with behavioral issues” are sent to learn – with a label like that, is there hope for you?
I recently joined the advisory board of Girls In Action. GIA is a non-profit organization that has dared to work with many young girls who are labeled and attend what some call “last stop” schools. GIA works with young girls through a weekly program that re-engages them with their studies, their leadership, and ultimately – their futures.
To better understand the organization, the work, and the girls, I asked to join Dr. Verna Price, founder & President of GIA, on a recent field trip. The field trip included volunteer women leaders/mentors and several girls that attended some of those “last stop” schools. The field trip, in essence, was a scavenger hunt for possibilities, opportunities and dreams. We visited the International Market Square – the largest home & commercial interior design marketplace in the Upper Midwest. We wanted to show the girls that the possibilities were as big as you could dream. (so, PS – DREAM BIG!)
We saw some of the most beautiful kitchens, textiles, and furnishings the heart can imagine – and more. However, the most valuable gems were the women business owners who had volunteered to take the time from their busy schedules to tell us their stories:
Talin Spring - a women who recently moved from Europe. With a name so beautiful, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that she grew up with a love for beautiful hand made designs. Fond memories of her mother sewing beautiful embroidered designs brought her to the business she currently runs today – her shop showcases an evolving collection of fabrics and home accessories from European designers and artists.
Caroline Andrea Vaaler - a women who’s passions and experiences in graphic design eventually led her to the business of beauty – mores specifically the beauty in distinctive furniture & accessories. Her story’s beginning is an ending of a career and a shift away from graphic design into a new beginning – She finds and represents beautiful artistic lines of furniture and accessories. A wonderful lesson for the girls to see: our journeys are always evolving, and an ending is really a new beginning!
Julie Dasher - a women who used to scavenge left over textile scraps from the docks of the IMS building to create rugs. She found she had a passion for rugs. And then one day found herself designing a magnificent rug for the governor’s mansion. Today, she designs rugs for clients all over the world.
These savvy business women had an infectious energy, a positive outlook, and quiet peace about them. And for a brief moment, instead of feeling hopeless and powerless, we were surrounded by beauty and hope.
Did the girls see what I saw? Did they hear what I heard? I don’t know. But as we sat and enjoyed a lunch together, there was grace, there was laughter, there was talk about the future, and there was talk about possibilities.
So, is there hope?
The wonderful thing about hope – you only need to experience it for a moment to know that there IS hope.
What’s your dream?
PS – Dream BIG!
Dreamer. Writer. Creator.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: If you would like to learn more about Girls In Action, become a volunteer, bring the GIA programs to your school/community, become a girl in GIA, or donate to support GIA’s programs, please check out the Girls In Action website or shoot me an email and I will connect you to the wonderful folks at GIA!
This week I’m linking up to the YEAH WRITE! crew! Check out the great blogs in the YEAH WRITE! circle and on Thursday, March 8th, come back and vote for your favorites!