October Volunteer Spotlight - Chelsea Renz

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By: Raven Hamilton, Communications Assistant

Chelsea Renz is a truly remarkable volunteer and an outstanding relatable role model! Chelsea began volunteering with Girls Empowerment Network in Fall 2018 and has served as a weekly Girl Connect volunteer since then. Each Program Coordinator she’s worked with has remarked on how kind, enthusiastic, and inclusive Chelsea is when working with girls. It’s been a joy to have Chelsea volunteer with our school-based programming and at our monthly Volunteer Nights, and we’re so appreciative of her bright spirit! – Brittany Yelverton, Director of Community Engagement

What’s a major problem that you see girls facing today?

            I feel like one major problem girls are facing is the change in interaction with technology. Our parents, and even my generation, didn’t grow up with technology as accessible or as prevalent. We are just now seeing the negative effects of technology on developing brains, and I continue to encourage my own family and friends to learn to limit technology.

If you could go back in time and talk to your middle school self, what advice would you give her and why?

            I would want to know that everyone else is just as self-conscious and scared and weird as I am. It wasn’t until I was much older that I started accepting who I was and all of my quirks. I feel like I would’ve been more confident, which would’ve translated to other parts of my life.

Looking back, what advice did you need to hear?

            Everything will be alright. I used to worry about everything as a kid and young woman, but as I grow older, in my 24-year-old wisdom, I start to realize I need to worry less and enjoy every day.

What is your definition of a girl boss?

            A girl boss is someone who is confident and speaks her mind because she knows she is strong, independent, and intelligent.

What motivates you to empower young girls?

            When I was in 1st grade, my mom went back to school with a 1-year-old baby and two elementary aged kids. Every night, she would come home from work and start her schoolwork while balancing her job and kids. She inspired me to be fearless in the pursuit of my dreams, and to work hard even when the cards are stacked against me. Despite my crazy dreams, she’s always there to tell me I can do whatever I want, and I want to be that for other young girls.

Can you tell me about an experience you had while volunteering that resonated with you?

            While working with a middle school group, I loved watching the girls emerge from their shells. One of the girls who was very quiet started showing how powerful she was. One group, she talked about how important it is for her to focus on her academics and even brought up how she wants to focus on her career rather than building a family. It was so unexpected, but such a powerful moment.

Why do you think Girl Connect is so vital to the development of girls?

            Girl Connect creates a safe space where experiences, strong women can connect with young girls to facilitate critical conversations about issues facing them.

What is it that caught your attention about Girls Empowerment Network and made you want to volunteer?

            I love how organized and research based it is. I believe in flexible, adaptable curriculum because every group is different. For example, my elementary aged group required more confidence building and emotional learning whereas my middle school group could discuss issues of body image and social media more deeply.

Natalie deLeonRenz