Friday, March 20, 2009

advice for girls

From: Dianne Cameron (

I volunteer with Cool Girls, an afterschool program that targets girls in low-income areas. I work with 60 girls at Carey Reynolds Elementary (3rd to 5th graders) and another 30 at Sequoyah Middle School, trying to encourage them and teach them basic life skills (communication, nutrition, etc.). The area around Doraville (85 / 285 / Buford Hwy) has become extremely diverse, and most of the girls are Hispanic, Black, and Asian, with only a couple Anglos thrown in the mix – not your typical “Southern Women” from Dunwoody or South Cobb.

I just finished reading the Aud Torvingen novels and thoroughly enjoyed them. I was wondering if you might have any advice that I could pass on, particularly to the older girls, about how to succeed in life.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Advice? Words matter. The words you use about others, the words you use to describe yourself, they make a difference. Choose them carefully. Don't accept the words others use about you. Find your own words for yourself. Believe them.

There's a big world out here, just waiting, a world where all kinds of things are possible. One day you'll leave your home, school, neighbourhood, perhaps even your city or your state, maybe even your country. That's where you will find those words that are yours, the ones you want to grow into, the ones you want to be. Brave? Loved? Famous? Strong? Wise? Happy? All good words. All possible. But only if you refuse the labels others want to give you.

I hope readers will chime in here. I hope you will take this chance to give some advice to girls--to say the things you wish someone had said to you when you were twelve or thirteen.

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