We Are Girls Houston: “a recipe for a successful young lady”

Kya attended We Are Girls Houston 2017 with her dad and We Are Girls Austin 2017 with her mom, Dallas. She and her mom will attend We Are Girls Houston again this April. Kya and Dallas spoke with us about their experiences with We Are Girls. Thank you so much, Kya and Dallas!

 

We hope that you enjoy learning about Kya and Dallas’s experience as much as we did. Hundreds of families, just like Kya and Dallas’s family, want to attend We Are Girls Houston, but can’t afford the $30 ticket price. You can send a girl to We Are Girls Houston by donating $30 today at: bitly.com/wearegirlshouston2018.

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 Kya:

What do you think is the best part about We Are Girls?

I like how you get to make new friends and how they teach you a lot of stuff and help you with things that you’re struggling with.

 

I like all the activities that they have you do and how they show you to be true to who you are, how you should just be yourself and light comes from who you are.

 

How do you think We Are Girls helps girls?

It shows them not to let anyone tell you who you can and cannot be. And it also shows you to be confident in who you are.

 

What would you say to girls who are unsure about attending We Are Girls?

Just come. You would have a lot of activities to do. There wouldn’t be a time you would be just sitting there not doing anything. The teachers are very nice. No one there is rude. It would be easy for you to make new friends and get along with other people.

 

What did you learn about at We Are Girls?

One time when we went, one of the teachers taught you to be happy. If you’re negative, you won’t have a good life or get to do what you want to do.  She said always focus on being someone you want to be, don’t be someone you’re not.

 

Were you struggling with anything that We Are Girls helped you with?

We Are Girls helped me with being able to speak out instead of being shy and just sitting there.

 

How has We Are Girls affected your life?

It’s made me more confident as a woman, to go out in the world and just be myself. And not to care if anyone talks about me, not to care care what anyone thinks about me. Now I can be who I want to be.

 

What makes you want to keep going back to We Are Girls?

I always make new friends there and it’s really fun. And there’s always new things that they have you do.

 

Dallas:

What do you like most about Kya attending We Are Girls Houston?

Her being surrounded by other girls who share similar ideas, similar visions, aspirations. That’s a recipe for a successful young lady to grow into an even more successful young woman. To go out into society and be herself and be confident. To not feel like she has to conform to anything other people feel like she should be. For me, We Are Girls reinforces what my husband and I are already teaching her on a daily basis.

 

What in particular does it reinforce?

It comes down to a consistent reinforcement of ‘be yourself.’ Don’t let anybody tell you who you need to be. Especially with the Times Up movement and the #MeToo movement — not feeling like you have to settle. We want her to know that she does not have to do that. She can be successful, she can be a beautiful, black woman. She can be all those positive things and still be able to make it in this man’s world.

 

She needs to know that she has all the tools necessary. We Are Girls just continues to plant those seeds of encouragement so that she knows what we’re saying is true. Sometimes when you’re talking to your kids, they just think that you’re preaching. For them to hear it from someone outside the home and outside their immediate family, they start to see well there’s some truth in what mom and dad are saying.

 

We Are Girls helps them to be prepared for what’s going to come. Because society can be very challenging and intimidating for girls. So that’s what I like about the We Are Girls workshops and seminars.

 

What would be your advice for other parents considering registering their daughter for We Are Girls Houston?

I did reach out to some of Kya’s friends mothers and told them what they can expect out of the seminars, what they can expect out of the workshops. For me, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The event itself is called We Are Girls, so why wouldn’t you invest that time in your daughter?

 

Even if it’s just to have a day with your daughter. You may not get to have that because you have other kids you have to take care of. When you get to go to an all-day event like We Are Girls, you get to have that bonding time together.

 

After each class that she went to, she came back and told me about it. And we were able to talk about what she learned and go into the specifics of how she can take this and apply it to her daily life. So I would encourage other moms to think about what they can get out of We Are Girls. Because to me, there’s nothing negative that can come out of an event intended to uplift young women.

 

What would you say to someone who is considering scholarship-ing a girl to We Are Girls Houston by donating $30?

I would say the same thing that I told myself. I decided to donate by scholarship-ing one of the girls. I know what it feels like when there’s a young person that really wants to go to something but they’re not financially able, they feel left out and like they’re missing out on something. We contribute to everything else. So why not contribute $30 to somebody’s future? You never know what that little girl could get out of just one workshop. She might glean something that she can take back home with her and apply to her everyday life, which is only going to make her better. That’s a $30 that’s well worth it to me.

 

How have you seen Kya change or be affected by We Are Girls Houston?

It’s a reinforcement of what we already do here. I sat in on workshops for the moms only. I thought one of the classes was pretty powerful for all the moms in there because we all realized that we were sharing similar situations and we weren’t alone in those situations. And to be able to pass around suggestions. And I was able to take some of the things that I learned and apply it to Kya’s daily life and situations.

 

She’s changed by being able to accept what we say a little more as her parents. Because we only want the best for Kya. For We Are Girls to take what we’re saying and to apply it in different types of scenarios — that’s created a major change for her. She’s willing to open up and listen a little more to what we have to say with those same messages were translated in several of those workshops. And it changed me too. So I was able to get things out of We Are Girls as a mom that I may not have been able to get anywhere else. I was able to hear some of these moms share their stories and say “oh yeah, that sounds similar to what I’m going through and similar to what I’m doing, so what are you doing about that?” To be able to hear other people’s stories — take it, apply it. Then to also be able to apply that to Kya. You’d be amazed what you can get out of somebody else’s story; to take that and to apply it is well worth the time and the money.

 

Any other thoughts?

This whole concept is right on time in today’s society. I think it is so important that girls, especially at this age, understand the type of power that they have. And to not be afraid of that power and to know where to focus that power. Because of the movements that we are in, because of the negative messages that they are constantly bombarded with. You shield your daughter as best you can from the body shaming, etc. Kya has her own set of things that we try to shield her from, but it’s just the way of life. Her dad and I, we’re trying to reinforce that as a young, black lady, you’re going to be able to do things that you didn’t even realize you could do. And I think that’s one of the messages that We Are Girls conveys. You have the tools, you have what you need to be successful. You just need to learn how to use those tools to the best of your knowledge and make sure that you have the support.

 

We Are Girls allows us as parents to continue to lay those positive foundations that our girls specifically need. The body shaming, the bullying — girls can be mean. I remember growing up and the mean girls that I was surrounded by in middle school and high school. And you have to know how to deal with that in a positive way. What’s said at We Are Girls, girls need to hear it, they need to be surrounded by the positive messages.

 

Kya was bullied this year and we were able to handle it before it escalated to anything serious. But she was prepared; she had the tools that she needed mentally and spiritually. She was able to take the tools that she had been collecting and she was able to handle it to the best of her ability.

 

To have events like that where girls can just go and be girls. They don’t have to pretend, they don’t feel like they have to be something else. We Are Girls allows that. I commend We Are Girls for having this event — and in two different locations every year. To be able to have it locally where some girls might not have been able to do it otherwise. I hope it’s able to expand out to other states and cities so that other girls can take those same messages.

Felicia Gonzalez