The Women Like Us Foundation supports women's leadership for Gender Equality and Social Justice in the areas of Sex Trafficking, Homelessness and Education.  It is the purpose of our blogs to create awareness of the work of women and the impact they are making on the world. 

You Never Know What Will Stick…

Kyla is a 15 year old sophomore at Sun Valley Military Academy and a participant in the One Girl at a Time program that started there in 2015. She actively participated in the program last year and gained some helpful insight about dreams and goals.

The program leader, Angel Covarrubias, feels it’s important to share with these girls the value of having goals and dreams and ways to make them a reality. With her active volunteers - Jen Johnson, Monica Ramirez, and Aida Williamson, Angel and her team meet with 15 to 20 teens every two weeks for two hours throughout the school year.

Something to Reach For…

Angel begins the annual program by making vision boards with the girls. Vision boards, also known as Storyboards and Vision Maps, are collages of images that each individual chooses and finds, usually in magazines or printed from online, that represent aspects of their preferred lives. It’s a place that represents the hopes, goals, and dreams the girls hold and want to create. By doing so, research has found that it’s easier for the mind to enact these ideas into reality if the images are seen regularly and positive feelings about the dreams or goals are felt when looking at the vision board.

Kyla’s experience with her vision board is something she talked about at the informational session offered to those interested in joining the group in 2016. She spoke up about her desire to become a writer and live in New York City and the vision board she created that represented this dream. Kyla shared that she knows she doesn’t have to have her whole life planned out ahead of time but that if she does become a writer, living in New York City one day, she’ll have Angel and volunteer Jen to thank for inspiring her to reach for a dream and envision it becoming a reality.

A Shift in Relationships…

Another girl, Bella, also shared about her experience in the program, and the day the topic of relationships was presented by Angel and Jen. That curriculum covered areas such as family, friends, and dating, the difference between them and the boundaries that go along with them. They also talked about the relationship with yourself, giving and earning respect, and the experience of understanding your value as a girl and a woman. At the end, Angel’s husband and Jen’s fiancé came in to answer questions the girls had about men and gain some perspective on what their 15 year old male counterparts might be thinking in their young dating lives.

At the informational session, Bella shared with those interested in joining the program how helpful that material was and that the ongoing conversations about relationships with Angel and Jen have helped with her confidence. She now values herself in new and positive ways and doesn’t let herself get upset about boys, like she did previously. Bella also shifted her perspective on attention from boys, learning that the amount of attention she receives from them doesn’t indicate her value. Bella said, “Learning about this has really helped me deal with disappointment. It’s how you look at disappointment and your attitude about it that makes a difference in how you get through it.”

Impact…

The stories that Kyla and Bella shared are great examples of how the personal mentoring relationships through the Women Like Us Foundation’s program One Girl at a Time are making a difference in the lives of young women. While reflecting back on the work she does with them and the success stories she’s heard, Angel said that she just never knows when her support, encouragement and program direction are going to impact or stick with one of the participants. It’s part of the silver lining that comes with the dedicated work she does.

Hearing Kyla speak about the possibility of one day thanking herself and Jen for supporting her dream and Bella share about the shifted perspectives on herself, the meaning she makes about attention from boys, and new ways to handle disappointment, all indicate that Angel and One Girl at a Time are impacting these young women in very powerful ways.

To learn more about the One Girl at a Time, go to http://www.womenlikeusfoundation.org/mentoring-girls

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Blog author Molly Lyda, MA is a Life Coach and Therapist in Los Angeles, who supports women in finding balance and purpose in their lives through her program Intimacy 101: Create the Life You Want. She enjoys volunteering with the Women Like Us Foundation and working to make a difference in women’s lives. www.MollyLyda.com