LEONARDTOWN, Md. — Over the last months or years, we have all experienced tragedies. We have faced a global crisis in addition to our personal issues. The positive that has come out of our global experience is the need to recognize the need for mental wellness and self-care. We have coaches and mentorship programs popping up everywhere. We probably needed these services prior without knowing.
This is a positive from all the negative.
As the Executive Director and Program Manager of the Dream Queen Foundation and Gals Lead Teen Club, I have seen the profound effects mentoring has had on not only the mentee but the mentor. This crisis has helped bring our 10-year-old program to the forefront of minds in Southern Maryland, and for that, I am grateful.
Gals Lead Teen Mentorship and Leadership program is active in three high schools and has one after-school program in Southern Maryland. The 30-week curriculum is based on the Four Pillars of Success: Knowing Yourself, Dreaming Big, Overcoming Obstacles, and Taking Action.
Through this course, teens ages 12-18 learn their value, strengths, passions, and more. They learn to value themselves and are given the tools to stay mentally healthy and battle bullies. The most profound change is in their confidence. This change in confidence gives them the strength to move into leadership roles and to challenge themselves like they never have before.
The safe space created within the clubs gives teens the ability to share their fears, wants, needs, and worries. They learn that their anxieties are like their peers, who are usually from different socioeconomic and other backgrounds.
We find the diversity of the clubs is the key to success. Many women deal with similar issues of self-comparison, thinking everyone else has it figured out.
In these days of 24-hour social media, we can paint a picture of other people’s lives that make us feel less than or unworthy of the life we believe they lead. All teens and adults need to know that our journeys are unique and everyone has obstacles in their lives.
Those of us who recognize this are the ones that push through and find our dreams. Stepping out of our comfort zone, saying our desires out loud, and acknowledging the celebrations of the life we lead brings more of those things to us.
My favorite sayings are “What you focus on grows” and “whether you say you can or say you can’t you are always right.” Helping a teen understand the validity of the thoughts they have and how they influence their feelings, actions, and results is key to helping them become the best they can be.
We are excited to say we are expanding into more schools and are looking for more mentors to go into those schools and mentor teen girls (she/her they/them). The mentors will find their perspectives changing as they experience the curriculum along with the girls.
They begin to live by a code and to be the best versions of themselves. The experience is something that no words can explain, and usually, the club is each of our favorite days of the week.
We pour into the girls, and they pour into us. We have a group experience built on trust and understanding. Teens have been isolated so much over the last couple of years, they are hit with so much negative imaging and language and are struggling to survive.
Adults are in a space of survival with inflation and other world issues that affect them every day. This survival mode adults are thrusted into makes it difficult to take the time and perspective to listen to their teens. What may seem trivial to us is life-ending or changing to them. The way of the world and all the issues with 2022 are unavoidable.
We strive to help the teens understand that they cannot control their circumstances whether it is a loss of a family member or their family struggling financially. What they can control is their reactions to those events. How they process and decide to react is what is important. The safe space is there for them to unpack and make the decisions they need to move forward healthily.
Who do you know who would like to be a mentor? It could be a retiree, an at-home worker, your college-aged child, or a neighbor. The intention is all you need to get started.
The Dream Queen Foundations Certified Gals Lead Facilitator Training and the support, once the clubs are started, will give you all the tools you need to be successful. At the end of the day, to the teens, it is knowing someone is listening and is there to hear them.
The more mentors we can bring on board, the more teens we can serve in Southern Maryland.
Find out more about the benefits and expectations, and fill out the online application to get started on our website.