This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is Ashley Gordon! Ashley has volunteered with Girls Empowerment Network for two years. She has served in our weekly Girl Connect program at numerous schools, and she always strives to encourage girls!
“Ashley is so dedicated to the mission of Girls Empowerment Network and continues to volunteer with us because she is devoted to igniting the power in girls. My favorite story to share about Ashley is how last semester the only 5th grader in group was debating on staying since no one was in her grade. However, she stayed in group because, ‘Ms. Ashley told me to come back for the good things, and to not let the things I don’t like (being the only 5th grader) affect me not coming to group anymore.’ I think this shows the connection Ashley makes sure she has with girls and the fact that she plays the role of role model for them. She is present when working with the girls, and is always so flexible with all the different groups of girls she has worked with.” – Claudia Arellano / Outreach Program Coordinator
What is it about Girls Empowerment Network that makes you keep coming back?
The opportunity to be a part of an organization that wants the best for these girls and wants to give them all of the tools they may need to unlock their inner power and confront life’s challenges with a back pocket full of healthy coping mechanisms is just too good to pass up. Even in times when I’ve felt that my schedule might be a little too hectic or that I might want to take a break I find myself unable to resist signing up for another semester of volunteering. I’m drawn to this organization and what it stands for and am thrilled to be a part of it in any capacity.
How has GEN impacted you?
Every time I work with GEN and the wonderful girls that are a part of it, I leave feeling inspired and full of hope. It’s incredible to see the love that these girls possess, and if we, through programs like this one, are able to foster that love and continue to nurture it as they grow, then the kindness that exists naturally within them can help guide them when they become the powerful, influential women of tomorrow, and that’s something that is especially inspiring these days.
Do you have a specific memory of volunteering that has resonated with you?
A memory that really resonated with me during my time volunteering with GEN is when a girl in one of the groups I was helping out with was wanting to quit. I was talking to her about why she felt that way and telling her that Girl Connect has a lot to offer and that we get to choose what we want to take with us from it, and we can leave what doesn’t work for us. She told the program coordinator the next week that after having that conversation with me she decided to continue going to group because what I said really stuck with her, and that was a very special moment to me.
What has been your favorite part of volunteering with GEN?
Interacting with and getting to know such wonderful females, both the girls who participate in the programs GEN offers as well as the women who make it all possible. It’s a network full of people who truly care about females of all types in this world and what the future is going to look like for them. In addition to being informative and full of important lessons, the programs themselves are just fun to participate in.
In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues young girls face today, and how does GEN help to combat this issue?
One of the biggest issues I believe young girls face today is that somewhere along the line they end up turning on each other. They begin to tear each other down and make what are already difficult times, like adolescence and school years, even more difficult, when they should really be allies for each other. GEN helps combat this issue by instilling the value of healthy, supportive friendships in them at a young age so that they grow up knowing the importance of supporting one another and building each other up.
What is your go-to #GirlPower song?
“it’s different for girls” – of Montreal