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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Work Peacefully by Mary Beth Iannarella

See more on the wishwall online http://thewishwall.org/desideri/work-peacefully/

Millions of women across the globe took to the streets to march against President Donald Trump Saturday, January 21, 2017. In Washington DC alone, approximately 500,000 turned out to stand up for gender equality, healthcare for women and other issues thought to be threatened under Trump’s presidency.

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This protest on anti-female policies were all started on a Facebook event page. Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and grandmother living in Hawaii, created the event page calling for a march on Washington after Trump’s inauguration. On the other side of the country, Bob Bland had the same idea. He is a New York-based fashion designer. Bland, working with others, consolidated various protest pages, including Shook’s, that had cropped up on Facebook and recruited three longtime, New York-based activists to be co-chairs of the national march.

Per PoliticsUSA.com, the attendance in different cities were as follows:

Washington DC: 500,000
LA: 200,000-750,000
New York: 200,000-500,000
Chicago: 250,000
Boston: 250,000
Denver: 200,000
Oakland: 60,000
Madison: 100,000
Atlanta: 60,000
St. Paul: 60,000
Philadelphia: 50,000
Pittsburgh: 20,000
Nashville: 20,000
Marches were also held around Europe including Paris and Barcelona.

Per womensmarch.com, it’s message has only just begun. “Thank you to the millions of people around the world who, on January 21, came together to raise our voices. But our march forward does not end here. Now is the time to get our friends, family and community together and MAKE HISTORY. Join us in launching a new campaign: 10 Actions for the first 100 Days. EVERY 10 DAYS WE WILL TAKE ACTION ON AN ISSUE WE ALL CARE ABOUT, STARTING TODAY.”

The good news is, around the country more people have come together in solidarity protesting peacefully. It’s okay to be angry, it is how we channel that anger that makes it another matter. Violence, is never the answer. I believe it should be a peaceful movement simply asking for equal respect, justice and our rights.

Peaceful stances against unequal civil rights have been successful throughout history and nonviolent movements can lead to meaningful systemic changes. While media loves to bombards us with stories and images of bloodshed and the destruction a few protesters may cause, the true spotlight should be on those standing together today in peace simply asking for equality for all.

Hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you protest in support or dissent, stay peaceful. Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our fellow citizens and practice compassion and tolerance not only towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. I will always stay true to myself and my beliefs but I do respect that other people have their own thoughts, beliefs and ideas also.

My wish for you is to work peacefully.

“Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.”- James Lane Allen

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV