Volunteer Spotlight: Jacqueline Miller

Jacqueline Miller - May VOTM.jpg

Jacqueline Miller – June Volunteer of the Month

“Jacqueline is a multi-talented volunteer! She brings MAGIC when she comes to group or when she is a speaker at the We Are Girls Conference. Her spirit is always high, and she is enthusiastic every time she shows up to groups of all ages. Jacqueline is ready to help with anything and everything possible during a group. This includes having that ability to make sure girls feel comfortable and finds similarities with the girls she works with. Working with someone as genuine and dedicated as Jacqueline makes our Girl Connect groups so special.” -Claudia Arellano, Outreach Program Coordinator

What is it about Girls Empowerment Network that makes you want to volunteer?
What makes me want to volunteer at Girls Empowerment Network is your dream to connect with girls becomes a reality. Empowering girls is intentional and “on purpose.” And, I appreciate how accommodation is made for my availability.

Have you had an experience volunteering with GEN that has resonated with you?
One of the times during a group during check-in, one of the participants shared about how much she loves her family and her excitement for seeing her cousins over the weekend. I can remember, at her age, being ecstatic about seeing my cousins over the weekend as well. Just like her, I was excited about riding our bicycles and running to the ice cream truck together. Her cousins were as close as to her like brothers and sisters. Just like mine were.

How has Girls Empowerment Network impacted you, and how do you believe we impact and empower girls?
Knowing that there’s a place (an organization) that consistently has impacted me by taking the time to learn my interests, talents, and gifts. Therefore, they listened to me, “a big, grown” girl. I believe GEN impacts and empowers girls by creating and holding spaces for them. These spaces are sought after, and are planned and filled with fun, laughter, and energy! GEN holds a place for the girl within me!

If you could tell your ten-year-old self anything, what would it be and why?
I would tell my ten-year old self that your feelings are absolutely normal. You have an amazing sense of compassion and empathy for others. And taking time to learn about your interests and strengths doesn’t mean that you’re selfish. You will continue to grow into an incredible advocate. You do that well for others. And Jacqueline, dreams of all sizes really do come true.

What is a major issue facing girls today, and how do you believe we can address this challenge?
A major issue that girls are facing today is that they are carrying the weight of the past through historical objectification and hyper-sexualization. It continues to fall onto generation after generation of girls. Girls are, repeatedly, objectified and their bodies hypersexualized, and the media contributes to harmful gender stereotypes that often exacerbates violence against girls. Sexualization of girls is not new, but weight and old pressures has been elevated through social media as well as other non-traditional ways. We can continue to raise the awareness, create safety nets, and to provide tools and resources with hopes of getting girls connected to services and the help they need.

What is your favorite #GirlPower song and why?
My favorite #GirlPower song is “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. When I first heard the song, someone sang it at church. I looked at the individual and thought, “how sad that she doesn’t know who she is.” But days later, I heard the song on the radio. I challenged myself to focus on the lyrics and to think about the message. I later found myself in the song which has now become one of my favorites. It is now one of my favorites because, as a spiritual person, this song does what I believe God does. My soul and spirit are spoken to where some of my greatest challenges of feeling lost, not valued or even times I question who I am. I resolve those thoughts and moments with “I believe what you say of me.”

Who is your #GirlBoss role model and why?
My #GirlBoss role model is Arlene Vassell. Arlene is the Vice President of Programs, Prevention & Social Change for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. She oversees several key initiatives to end domestic and other forms of gender-based violence. I have known Arlene close to 10 years now. I had the pleasure to work with her on a traumatic brain injury project in Florida. And, her voice of empowerment and leadership is consistent. Each of my encounters with Arlene has “wowed” me to the point that as I glean knowledge from her, I am able to create tools and resources not only for healing my past but my future – girls’ futures imagined with them being made visible and heard just as my eight year old self is now. Arlene’s “unapologetic” leadership boldly centers and amplifies voices of survivors and traditionally marginalized communities. She is a vital instrument to “this movement” where I stand. Oh, how fortunate I am to have an “Arlene,” a live spark that shares joy, inspiration and FUEL for the journey! I am surrounded by such dynamic GIRLS!