Change the Trajectory of a Young Girl’s Life

It’s the season of WOW and this year we are excitedly preparing for WOW events in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Lousiville. I even more encouraged by the girls who are raising their hands to join the WOW movement and the city leaders who are enthusiastically throwing their support behind these trailblazing young women. In Jacksonville, Orlando, Lousiville and soon, Washington D.C. where a young girl just reached out in hopes to start a club there, we are hearing from girls who are ready to take the lead and blaze new trails in their communities. WOW has always been about the girls. It’s the connections they make and the growth they experience that fuels us to expand and improve every year. Their voices keep us going. Here’s what they’ve shared. Donna Orender, Generation W Founder

Grace: “I’ve always been really passionate about women and girls – and I recognized that strength was in me, but I didn’t know how to harness it – how to channel it to make my world and really the whole world a better place. WOWsdom! helped me transition from talking about it to actually doing it! It’s showed me how to live a life that truly reflect my values.”

Taylor: “I’m a freshman at Bolles now and WOW has helped me connect with women working in STEM, encourage other girls to love math and science and be bold!! Now, I’m not just little Taylor Richardson, I’m Astronaut Starbright, WOW Ambassador, and ready for the world!”

Azaria: “The WOW Club, the leadership class, and the women who care about me like Ms. Jackson and my mentor Ms. Donna – have showed me how to make my dreams come true. Now I have a plan and confidence to make it happen. I want to be a journalist. I will be a journalist. And when it happens, I’ll be sure to give back and inspire other girls who need it just like I did.”

And then there’s the story shared with us from the newest member of our team, WOW Program Manager Elizabeth Surratt, who through her work with City Year was a WOW Club Facilitator just last year.

Elizabeth: “When I first met Taja through our Gen WOW Club, I saw a girl bounding with energy, often dancing, laughing, or cracking a joke. But I also saw how quickly her mood would shift, often without any visible trigger. She would shut down, turn her back or look at her phone, or sometimes, simply walk out of a group and refuse to talk about what was wrong. We all knew parts of how tough Taja’s life was, but she wouldn’t let anyone close enough to really connect. When I recently ran into one of my previous coworkers, he was teary-eyed as he shared with me an interaction he just had with Taja. Earlier that day he had been walking down a hallway and saw Taja sitting with a girl. She called him over and said: Elizabeth

‘Hey Mr. Muz, you know last year in our Gen WOW clubs how we talked about opening up and talking to other people about things? Well she [indicating the girl next to her] has a lot of trouble with bottling everything up, and I’m trying to explain to her about being open with people because it’s so much better. Can you help me explain that to her?’

Just to know that if nothing else, Gen WOW provided a space where girls got to see and experience the beauty and power of vulnerability, even when it wasn’t perfect, and that they’ve internalized the message of openness and connection enough to want to share it with other people. We probably don’t even know the extent of growth that has grown and will continue to arise from the seeds planted through this program.”

This season as we join with community leaders, advocates, groundbreakers, moms, CEOs, and teachers–we invite you to mentor and be a link in the intergenerational connection fostered at every WOW event, every year. The benefit you will provide to the girls by sharing your story, your wins and losses, challenges and triumphs is powerful. It’s an unforgettable experience for mentor and mentees alike – connecting with the sole purpose of letting a young woman know she is not alone and we are all here to cheer her on as she blazes her own path in the world. The girls will learn so much from you, but, truth is, your life will also be enriched by what you learn from them. That’s the magic of WOW and the foundation of WOWsdom!: the wisdom of our women and the wow of our girls joining to create a magical, transformational connection.

Please register now to be a WOW mentor and help change the trajectory of young girl’s life.