By Ali Renckens
Girls are constantly exposed to society’s ideals. Television and magazines portray an impossible image of how girls should look and act. With this incessant pressure, feelings of insecurity or inferiority are inevitable. Girls with Confidence is an organization started by Nancy Lemon to help kindergarten through high school girls develop self-confidence.
On Friday, December 13 the organization is hosting its second Girls Give Back event. The purpose of the event is to teach girls the importance and value of giving. After registering, girls receive the first name and age of a boy or girl who resides at A Kid’s Place. The participants then fill a shoebox with small gifts for their child. During the event, the girls create a card to accompany the gift.
“It’s really cool what some of the girls will write, like really personal messages, just tell them about who they are, what sports they like to do,” Lemon remembered. After volunteers wrap the packages, the girls decorate the plain, brown paper with foam stickers, glitter and markers and enjoy refreshments provided by SweetBay. “All my classes, the goal, obviously, is to build confidence, but I want them to love who they are,” explained Lemon. “Little things like this make them feel good about themselves. We try to give girls a really comfortable environment to open up and talk about what’s on their mind. When they come, they can talk and not feel judged and they get to learn from each other and hear what other girls are going through.”
The organization, started in June 2011, is now expanding to Tampa, and potentially Lakeland. To allow growth, the middle to high school program called Girls with Leadership, is becoming its own company. “When they go into middle school, everything changes. The theme is leadership, but we cover different things like social networking, friendships, peer pressure, managing stress and communication skills,” Lemon said.
The program is open to any girls who are interested in joining; it’s not a FishHawk program or limited to girls who lack self-confidence. To register, volunteer or learn about other workshops, visit www.girlswithconfidence.com.