Celebrating Emily Young, GENaustin’s January Volunteer of the Month
GENaustin’s clubGEN program, our after-school program for girls grades 4-8, is lucky to have Emily as one of its amazing volunteers. She shared some of her experiences in the program with us:
What inspired you to become involved with clubGEN?
Throughout adolescence and young adulthood, several of my friends faced eating disorders, bullying, and even teen motherhood. Though these issues are all relatively common, especially among young women, it is still rare to hear people openly discussing them. Oftentimes just knowledge and awareness about a topic can be a prevention mechanism, and that is exactly what GENaustin provides. I chose to volunteer with GENaustin because they create safe spaces where girls can talk and learn about relevant issues without feeling influenced by certain political or religious views.
What’s an experience at clubGEN that’s been memorable to you?
My favorite part of clubGEN is when we talk about body image and watch the Dove Evolution video.
Though the girls are usually aware of what photoshop and airbrushing are, they are always surprised at the how much these tools change how women in magazines and advertisements look. The take-away messages on confidence and inner-beauty that result from our discussions always remind me to value what makes me unique, and I love seeing how the girls who attend begin to realize the same thing.
What would you tell other people who were interested in volunteering with clubGEN?
Go for it! ClubGEN is all about loving what it means to be a girl, but also realizing the challenges that women still face today. If you ever wished in middle school that you had someone you could ask questions, seek advice from, or confide in, realize that you could be that person for someone else. It is the best job, and I look forward to every Friday that I get to spend making young women more confident, thoughtful, and strong – qualities that they will benefit from throughout their lives.