March’s Volunteer Spotlight: Hannah Yoo


March’s Volunteer Spotlight is Hannah Yoo! Hannah is a third-year psychology student at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing a career in counseling psychology. She was a Direct Service intern for Girls Empowerment Network during the Spring of 2018. After her internship, Hannah has continued volunteering with Girls Empowerment Network. Her passion for girls’ self-efficacy shines when she serves our girls!

“Hannah was an extraordinary intern with a motivated and go-getting attitude. She was always asking for ways to help and co-facilitated 2 groups. Last semester, she was able to co-facilitate with an extra early morning group. Regardless of the time, Hannah always came in with a smile on her face and brought enthusiasm to group. She is a prime example of a volunteer who is always ready to go and brings magic and serenity to any volunteering situation.” – Claudia Arellano / Outreach Program Coordinator

What is it about Girls Empowerment Network that makes you want to volunteer?
GEN is such an inclusive, welcoming organization both in the office and in its programs. Everything that we help teach the girls in group—self compassion, stress management, inclusivity, etc.— is reflected in the staff’s actions and attitudes. On the flip side, being a volunteer in group is always the highlight of my week. Making meaningful connections and seeing the girl’s growth throughout the semester is the best feeling and it’s what makes GEN so special.

Did you have an experience volunteering that has resonated with you?
In a recent Girl Connect, we discussed the topic of stress management and taught them coping skills like bracelet making and water coloring! After group, I was walking with a girl in the hallway and she ran into one of her friends who asked what we did in group. The GEN girl explained to her friend what stress management was and started passing on her knowledge of stress and coping skills. It was such an amazing moment to not only see a girl master a concept that we had talked about in group but also pass the knowledge onto her friends.

How has Girls Empowerment Network impacted you, and how do you believe we impact and empower girls?
Girls Empowerment Network has encouraged me to lead a more mindful and inclusive life. GEN teaches girls the skills to become empowered and confident, but it does the same for its staff and volunteers! Through meaningful connection, compassion, and knowledge, GEN empowers everyone that the organization interacts with.

If you could tell your ten-year-old self anything, what would it be and why?
I would tell my ten-year-old self to be bold and be confident! I would tell her to not worry about being too loud or speaking up when she felt like she needed to. I feel like I grew up thinking that my voice wasn’t as important as the people’s around me, and it’s a mindset that I’ve worked on for years to change.

What is a major issue today for girls, and how do you believe we can address this challenge?
A major issue that girls face today is growing up with social media, and the constant pressures that come along with it. Not only are girls exposed to the unrealistic standards of beauty, but many feel discouraged by the constant pressure to live an Instagram-Worthy life. This may lead to a degradation of self-compassion, self-confidence, and self-esteem. We can address this challenge by striving to lead authentic lives (even on social media) and teaching girls to have self-compassion and build confidence that is not defined by other people.

What is your favorite #GirlPower song?
My favorite #GirlPower song is Fighter by Christina Aguilera! The chorus is all about being strong and having fierce resilience. We are all fighters because we haven’t let our difficult experiences stop us from living our lives fully!

Felicia Gonzalez