Girls Inc. of Durham is making an impact in the lives of hundreds of girls across the region every day. We see the difference in these girls lives every day. Here are their stories...
"I'm Elyse and I have been part of Girls Inc. for seven years. I used to have a really hard time in school. I was only 6 or 7 years old but I had really bad anxiety. Changes were really difficult for me. I would throw up every night before school with worry about the day ahead. Going to the library was really hard, and I couldn't even take part in school assemblies. I didn't feel like I had any friends at school. Read more...
At Girls Inc. I found a support system, where I know I'm not alone. The staff at Girls Inc. helped me learn to do things for myself, they don't do it for you, instead they are there to give you that push you need to get started. I love that at Girls Inc. there is no judgment and that everyone is there for you. They understand that everyone is fighting their own fight and they respect the personal things people are struggling with.
Because of my Girls Inc. experience I know I am unique. There is no one like me. With the support from my Girls Inc. family I have learned to manage my anxiety. I`m able to take risks, and try new things. This year I was accepted to our school leadership group, and last month I LED the school assembly as the emcee!
With Girls Inc. in my corner, I know I can accomplish anything!"
-- Elyse, age 13
‘Strong, smart and bold’, might not seem like an inspiring quote to you but it is definitely an inspiring one to me. My name is Brianna and my most impactful experience was my summer at Girls Inc. camp this past year. Girls Inc. inspires girls to be ‘strong, smart and bold’. These three words have taught me to not be afraid to be myself, stand up for what I believe in and to never give up. I first got introduced to Girls Inc. when they ran a program at my elementary school. After having such a positive experience my parents enrolled me in their summer camp and I have fell in love with it ever since.
My camp experience has affected me in such an amazing way. Through being mentored as a counselor in training, I have learned the skills to be a successful leader and I have gained a confidence in myself that I thought I would never be able to have. When I first started camp I was very shy and I didn’t really know where I fit in. But with the help of the girls and the counselors I found my voice and now I am willing to let it be heard. One of the most valuable things I learnt this summer was to embrace discomfort. There were many times at camp where I had to step out of my comfort zone and that was extremely difficult for me. But when I did I knew I could do anything I put my mind to.
It’s hard to explain how empowering Girls Inc. is. All the counselors there see the good in every girl and they are so passionate in everything they do. This means so much to me because they are always there for me. I often have self-doubt and I never had someone to tell me that I could achieve my goals. Once I came to camp I found people that believed in me. All the love and support I received was a tremendous part of why I fell in love with Girls Inc.
I have grown so much and in so many ways after my experience at camp, and it has helped shape me into the person I am today. But often people ask, why is girls Inc. so important to you and others? And I reply by saying that in a world where we try to inspire woman to be empowering people, shouldn’t we start with our youth? This is exactly what Girls Inc. does and I’m so happy they are a part of my life.
-Brianna, age 13
“I was in grade 3 the first time somebody called me “ugly”. It hurt a lot. Then I got called this word every day. At the age of nine I began to think suicidal thoughts. I thought that dying was the only answer to the constant bullying that happened to me. I could get away from it easily. I thought that nobody would care if something happened to me, because I felt like a burden to this world.
At the age of 12 was when I first started cutting myself. I remember hiding away so nobody would see me at home and dragging the blade across my wrist. I remember feeling the sting, and seeing the blood coming out of the wound. At the time, for some reason, it felt good. Like the pain dwelled up inside me could somehow escape through those cuts. But that didn’t happen. I’d go to school hoping for a change, and come back home wishing I hadn’t gone. My thoughts clouded my mind, pushing me on and on, closer to the edge, saying, ‘Kill yourself. It’s all you can do.’
Then I started living a new life. Girls Inc. came to our school, and that’s where it all started. Every Monday, the girls in my grade get together in one class in the afternoon and talk about our problems. Sometimes there are tears and pain, other times there’s laughter and hope. But every second is filled with the joy of finally discovering each other’s true feelings. Of finally knowing that we’re all special and we all have the right to live with our heads held high.
Girls Inc. helped me so much that the girls who used to hate me with all their strength now don’t even walk by me without greeting me with a smile or giving me a hug. For the first time in years, I feel like I matter.”
– Sabahat, !3 years old
“Since Girls Inc. came to my school, I have gained knowledge and self-esteem. It made me think about my future and where I see myself in a couple of years. It made me think about my morals and what is important to me. Girls Inc. has helped me look at myself in a different way and taught me to love my body and accept me for who I am.”
- Selina, age 12
“I believe all girls should learn to appreciate what qualities they were born with and live a life doing things that make them happy. I have learned to be myself and to resist gender stereotypes. I can be a shot putter, soccer player, scientist or anything I set my sights on with no limitations.”
- Natasha , age 16