Mentor. Inspire. Empower.

I am a strong believer in mentoring, inspiring and empowering others, especially young girls. Research confirms the importance of having a quality mentoring relationship and shows it has a powerful positive effect on young people in personal, academic, and professional situations. Mentoring for me has always been first and foremost a relationship, I meet an extraordinary young woman and I think how can I help this person? How can I open doors for her and be supportive, encouraging and nourishing?

2013-girl-talk-logoIn 2013, I started a chapter of Girl Talk Inc in my town-Girl Talk Marlton.  Girl Talk Inc. is an international non-profit peer-to-peer mentoring program with a very simple premise: high school girls mentor middle school girls to help them deal with the issues they face during their formative early teenage years. Our mission is to help young teenage girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service. The girls develop confidence, leadership skills and compassion. They learn that they are not alone in the issues they face and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the foundation for better relationships with others. This helps women become stronger leaders in the work place and more effective as parents. Since 2002, the Girl Talk Inc. organization has served more than 40,000 girls in 43 states and 7 countries. My group in Marlton, NJ has grown from 1 girl in 2013 to 107 young girls ages 10-18.

Why the need for female mentors? Statistics consistently demonstrate the alarming incidence of dangerous behaviors in middle school aged girls, as well as the positive impact of mentoring.

2009 data suggests that, of the middle school girl population in the U.S.:

9% are pregnant

22% never make it through high school (drop out)

27% have been or will be suicidal

34% have eating disorders

55% experiment with alcohol, drugs or tobacco

and, of those with low self-esteem, 25% resort to self-injurious behavior and 75% report engaging in activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking

 

The good news is that data also suggests that youth who are mentored are:

27% less likely to begin using alcohol

37% less likely to skip class

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs

52% less likely to skip school, are more confident in their academic performance, and get along better with their families
7e277f9e37a1f037ff2ca5f826d533d5So, why NOT mentor, inspire and empower! Inspiration is all around us in everything we do and see. We need to mentor our young females to be inspired by the positive and not listen to the negative. And always empower them to aim high.

Young women often talk about the self-doubt that holds them back, that little negative voice inside their heads. We all have it, we all make mistakes, we are all human. Of course, sometimes even our role models get things wrong, or disappoint us, but this is also a useful reminder especially to girls that no one is perfect, and that anyone can survive both failure and error.

As women, we need to learn to build each other up. Women of different generations, colors and culture need to ensure that the progress we’ve made towards real equality continues.  We need to trust each other enough to share our power, knowledge, strength, talents and innovating solutions together. The women that do this are true role models and mentors and this is what I strive to be. They are the women who drive our motivation and imaginations, merely by their example. If we’re lucky enough, we count them as friends, and they are what we call our mentors.

My wish for you this week is to find a mentor in your life and become closer to them, learn from them and be empowered to inspire others.

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/mentor-inspire-empower/

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

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 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

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Help Fight Hunger in the US

The child who has no certainty of a healthy lunch.

The working poor who cannot afford groceries.

The senior citizen who must choose between food and medicine.

If-you-cant-feed-a-hundred-people-then-feed-just-one.-Mother-Teresa.jpgPer www.dosomething.org, 1 in 6 people in the United States struggles with hunger and 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table. Chances are, someone your child goes to school with or someone you know, struggles to get enough to eat every day. In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty. 40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans! Hunger does not discriminate. It exists everywhere. And it only exists because we allow it.

What can we do?

Collect food outside your supermarket for a local food bank or food pantry.

A food bank is an organization that takes nonperishable food donations and distributes them to agencies or individuals in need of food. With over 925 million people in the world going without proper amounts of food, the need for food banks and donations is at an all-time high. Every community has citizens in need of help when it comes to providing food for themselves and their families. You can help fight hunger by starting a food bank of your own.

A food pantry program is a community-based program that collects and stores food and household products for free distribution to needy people.

A food bank and/or food pantry can be an incredible way to contribute to the community and help those in the area who have fallen on hard times. Consider starting one in your community!

stophunger.jpgThis is my wish; I would like Girl Talk Marlton to start a food pantry. I have already been doing this for the past few years on a smaller scale whenever I can but I would like to kick it up a notch. *Fingers crossed*

Get educated and get involved!

Teach your kids the importance of giving back to their local community and those in need. They can donate their birthday or other special events by asking friends and family to make donations in lieu of buying presents.

hunger_launchVolunteer as a family! Get involved in a community group helping others. My group organizes a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich making night every month and invites all those in the community willing to help. All sandwiches made go to feed the hungry in the local communities. There are many organizations helping the hungry that you can volunteer as a family to help as fits your schedule. It is important to explain to your children that not everyone is as lucky as they are, and those hungry may be their neighbors and friends.

Just as hunger knows no age, neither does fighting it. We all have a role to play in solving hunger. Together we can strive to fight hunger and feed hope! JUST DO SOMETHING!

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall

http://www.girltalkmarlton.org

 

“When a poor person dies of hunger it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”

― Mother Teresa