Stories: helping young girls make positive decisions for a better future

(Note: This story comes courtesy of Meghan Cloud with Girls, Inc. Names and images have been changed to protect privacy.)

Emily loves one of United Way’s network nonprofit partner agencies, Girls, Inc., for many reasons – but her favorite reason is “because it’s like one big happy family.”

The agency provides specially designed programs for girls focused on economic literacy, career planning, pregnancy prevention, leadership, sports, culture and heritage, just to name a few. The agency has made a big difference in Emily’s life by teaching her how to do things she never thought she could do.

“I’ve learned the proper role of being a child and to understanding a child’s proper place, and how to be a classy, respectful and intelligent young lady,” she says. “I have learned how to trust the right people with my problems and feelings. I know a person doesn’t have to  go through the hard things in life by herself.”

Emily said her fellow program members and agency staff opened up to her so that she could safely confide in them and build lifelong friendships. Emily is thankful that they “care if I go to school and if my grades are looking right.”

“I’ve learned how to solve problems using conflict resolution, thinking about the situation before I react,” she says. “It’s better to talk out situations, and nothing is ever resolved with fighting. I know that with a positive attitude, it is possible to achieve more in life.”

Emily is proud to call the agency staff members a family and she is always learning about her peers in the program, especially differences among them.

“We work out our problems because that’s what we have been taught to do,” Emily says. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this family and would never change anything about it!”

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