By: Jennifer Berry, OPTIONS Class 12 Member
Senior Vice President and Creative Director
As a mother (and former child), I sympathize with kids and the social challenges they face everyday. So, naturally I was excited to join fellow OPTIONS 12 class members and Women’s Fund staff and board members for a site visit to learn more about Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis.
We had the opportunity to participate in a session of Work It Out – a program helping girls deal with bullying and aggression. Our “hands on” experience included games and activities and concluded with our conducting exit interviews with the girls as part of their final session. It was fascinating to be able to interact with these young ladies and it was evident in the girls’ demeanor that they were becoming confident expressing themselves. In fact, when I asked one young lady if she’d learned anything about herself by being a part of this program, she replied, “I learned that I really do care about other peoples’ feelings.”
In that moment I realized the impact this organization was having on these girls. They were discovering things about themselves and developing a sense of responsibility – especially as it relates to other people. And the beauty of all this was the process. The facilitators weren’t lecturing the girls on how they should behave. Rather, they were creating an environment where the girls were accepted and engaging them in activities to help them discover these important lessons on their own.
It’s odd if you think about it … most of us start out life as loving and accepting individuals. But, at some point, we start allowing others to define who we are and place limitations on what we can and can’t do. While education is important, I believe the most impactful skills we can learn (and teach) in life are how to treat others with respect and dignity and to find unity even though we may see things differently.
During my visit, I observed bright, intelligent women who’ve made it their life’s work to help girls realize their power and the importance of how they use it. I found myself extremely grateful for this organization and others like it. The cumulative impact Girls Inc. is making by helping these girls is amazing and I believe the work they are doing will create lasting change in these young ladies … and in the world.