Aloha from sunny Hawai’i! To read all the details – travel, food, shopping, cultural excursions, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and more! – click here: 2016 Hawaii Trip Journal Excerpts
2015 Washington DC journal excerpts from the Girls Inc. 2015 trip to Washington. D.C.
The girls presented information and research on how to properly fit a bra; skin care for adolescents; STI/STD’s; menstruation; teen pregnancy; breast self exams; contraception; and abstinence.
The girls, some in their first year of B.E.L. and others in their second year of the program (the girls with the slick blue satin jackets!), presented the information to parents, community health partners, and members of the Girls Inc. Board.
Mychael Shields, a 2nd year B.E.L. “veteran” presented a PowerPoint presentation about STD’s and STI’s. She warned the audience “some of these images are graphic.” She spoke about how the girls learned about contraception options and which options help protect against STD’s/STI’s. After describing the options for girls who choose to become sexually active, she added, “Abstinence is the one form of contraception that is 100% effective and has no side effects.” She acknowledged that abstinence is the method “preferred” by Girls Inc., but that the staff at Girls Inc. want the girls to be informed and safe if they choose to become sexually active.
The girls also displayed anatomically correct models used as part of the B.E.L. educational experience. After one of the presentations using a penis demonstration model, one of the moms stated, “I had no idea my daughter even knew what a penis looked like. I guess this opens up the opportunity for us to have some conversations now.” At Girls Inc. of Omaha, parents are considered girls’ first and best teachers. “If we can open the door to some parent-daughter conversations, then we are accomplishing something important,”stated Ms. CT Green, Director of Health Access at Girls Inc.
One mom said, “This makes me feel a little uncomfortable.” Ms. CT replied, “Well it doesn’t make us uncomfortable at all. At Girls Inc., the girls know we can talk about anything.” As Ms. CT described how she wanted the girls to have all the information they need to make informed decisions about relationships, their bodies, and their health, parents around the room were nodding in agreement.
The second cohort of B.E.L. girls are looking forward to receiving their own jackets very soon which will identify them as Peer Educators at Girls Inc. and in the community.
Ms. Kainette chaperoned four girls on a trip to Indianapolis to participate in Girls InCharge, a 3-day summer camp experience to learn about the working world, college life, and women entrepreneur role models. She sent this e-mail back to Ms. Roberta:
In one of the photos, Empress Cozart is standing with Charlie Wagner, Market Manager at Sam’s Club in Indiana. Sam’s was the sponsor of the Girls InCharge Summit. He shared a story about his experience at the networking workshop during his speech. He told a story about how he decided to sit at a table with a group of girls to see if anyone would talk to him. He is a big guy and sort of intimidating at first glance; he towered over all the participants. He said to his surprise that Empress, a Girls Inc. of Omaha member, introduced herself by saying “Hi! My name is Empress,” and then he looked at her name badge and it said “My name is Empress, and I’m confident in everything I do!
He went on to share how impressed he was with her overall self-confidence and her ability to hold a conversation and share openly about her experiences at Girls Inc. and on a personal level. Girls Inc. of Omaha made quite the impression. Anne Hitchner, Regional Membership Director, Great Lakes Region Sam Club visited with me after the luncheon and told me how proud I should be of our girls and ho highly they spoke of not only me (lol) but also their experiences at Girls Inc. One of the girls shared “how she might be doing something bad and that Girls Inc. saved her.” Other members talked about all of the different opportunities they had been given as members to try something different or learn something new that they never would have experienced were it not for Girls Inc. Yet others shared how Girls Inc. has taught them how to be confident and that it’s okay to be yourself and that they [staff] really care about us.
I think I have an eye for recognizing leadership and in giving… chances until a girl has that “ah hah” moment where they begin to see the same leadership qualities in themselves that I do.
Alum Kelsey sent us a graduation photo and the nicest thank you note:
What makes life’s successes so great is when you have a wonderful group of people supporting you along the way. I would like to truly thank you, your team, and everyone involved for your support personally as a girl growing into a young woman and as a student. This past December I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in Business Administration. The beauty of this story is that I had people like you (Girls Inc.) that have been empowering me to be STRONG, SMART & BOLD since the age of seven. Thank you Girls Inc. for your contribution to my life that not only impacted me while I was a member, but also now and in the future. Thank you Girls Inc. for all you do for young girls all over the world. We appreciate you!
Kelsey D. Wright
During the summer I had such a great time with all the other girls at Girls Inc. We attended many field trips, and we enjoyed our time there. I got the opportunity to go to the Omaha Doorly Zoo, the ice skate arena, golfing, and the swimming lessons at Spring Lake pool. Out of all of them my most favorite trip was to the Spring Lake pool. Even though, going into the pool, I already knew how to swim I still learned a lot during the lessons. I even overcame my biggest fear of heights, by going off the high dive! I got to spend the whole morning in the pool, and nothing could have been better than that!
I loved going ice skating as a little girl, and going back to the ice arena really made me feel like a kid again. Even though I fell once or twice and I was freezing, I still had a great time! Even the younger girls, who were afraid of falling had fun. It was a fun experience for me and all the girls of Girls Inc.
Every kid should go to the Omaha Doorly Zoo at least once in their childhood. And I am glad that the younger girls got to go. My favorite part of the trip was going into the jungle. We saw a bunch of animals one wouldn’t normally see every day. The aquarium was my next favorite part of the zoo. I love going to see the penguins, and the jellyfishes. – Gabbi
I felt like I was in a big kaleidescope. – Tanajah
I liked the Luminaria because of the way the colors changed our clothes…it was very fun and inspiring. The lights were beautiful and mostly bright. My favorite color was the purple and green one. It was amazing to sit down and look up and see the pretty colors. During the walk, I noticed that some were kind of dard and that was cool. – Ashli
We were all amazed at the middle room because it was a mixture of all the colors. I think the really cool thing was that it was a big balloon and we had to shut the door really fast so all the air doesn’t come out! – Samantha
I felt like I was in the brightest star ever. It shined so bright! It was one of the prettiest things I’d ever seen…To me it was kind of like a starship. – DaNya
Thanks to Vic Gutman & Associates for providing this cool field trip for the girls.
“I appreciated the opportunity of being able to attend the annual Humanitarian dinner. It was great listening to the motivational speakers and their ideas. Marlee Matlin was one of my favorite speakers. I love how she doesn’t let her disbaility get in the way of achieving her goals and adventures. I thought it was an honor to be able to go to the dinner. The food was great, the speakers were fantastic, and I would like to say thank you so much for letting Girls Inc. members experience something inspirational.” – Yadira
“When I left the Humanitarian dinner I felt special and strong.” – Leslie
“The food was extraordinary, the speakers were grand, and the videos were very informative. Thank you also for showing us we can live in a world of peace and joy…” – Victoria
“One of your speakers was a deaf girl and she taught us how to say “courage plus dreams = success.” – Chanecia
“I am glad I was one of the chosen ones to attend this event.” – Brianna
“I liked Marlee Matlin and Henry Winkler’s speeches. Also it was cool that the weather man gave us the forcast for the eventing. Futhermore, I loved the food and the dessert. The chicken ws fantastic! There were fancy decorations on the table with all the proper utensils. Most of all I really enjoyed the speakers and watching people receive medals.” – Nadeja
I would be a great Cinco de Mayo Queen because I have the motivation that is needed to achieve great things in our community. I am also committed to helping to improve our community. I understand that we, the young people, have the power to change the future and I am ready to begin.
For years I have made it a point to take leadership roles. The first step I took in that direction was joining Girls Incorporated of Omaha. They believe in young women like me and help me to be strong, smart, and bold. With their help I have achieved great things like becoming a board member, traveling the United States, and meeting the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. I have also done leadership camps, drama camps, and participated in Corporate Camp. Corporate Camp is a camp where a group of 4 to 5 girls ages 13 to18 work together to create a small business. This camp teaches leadership, teamwork and a specific responsibility. I was in charge of the public relations part of it and even thought we did not win, we received 2nd place.
From all of these opportunities provided by Girls Inc., I’ve learned how to be a team player, how to resolve conflicts that may arise with teammates, and how to be a leader. I also learned organizational skill, time management, and public speaking. At school, I show leadership qualities when participating in class projects or group presentations.
I believe that becoming the Cinco de Mayo Queen will take me in the right direction to better my future and those around me because I will have the opportunity to be a role model for others. I am proud to participate in an organization that helps keep our Mexican history alive—not just in the textbooks.
I am grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of such wonderful programs such as this. I will continue to strive for success and find ways to help out where I may be needed. I hope to hear the great news from you soon.
Yes, it seemed unreal to be up at the podium at the same time as the First Lady. Its a dream that I never thought would come true. When I was able to hug her in front of the large audience it made me feel important, and encouraged me to continue on my path to success because performing well in school and staying active in my community is what helped allow me to be able to be on the stage with her.While I was on stage I realized that I became known as a positive role model not only at my prospective college, but also for the state of Nebraska. Just like the First Lady said, “We have to help develop our children to become the person that they want to be every day”. Living out this quote I will continue to be active in my community and encourage the young girls to follow their dreams and inspire them to be anything that they want. It was a dream come true and the BEST birthday present ever, and most of all a memory I will always cherish and a wish I can cross off my bucket list. Thank you so much for the wonderful opportunity! You have no clue how much that meant to me to have the privilege. Girls Inc is AMAZING, and through finals week I will continue to live out my mission of being STRONG, SMART, AND BOLD. –
Girls Inc. alum Rhaniece Choice