Strong Women Strong Girls empowers girls to imagine a broader future through a curriculum grounded on female role models delivered by college women mentors, who are themselves mentored by professional women. Their vision is that every girl will realize her inner strengths to dream and do.
Meet a Mentor: Abigail ‘Abby’ Girard
Abby is a Co-Director of the Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) Chapter at Simmons College. A senior studying Education and English, Abby first got involved in SWSG her freshman year, because she loves working with kids and was interested in SWSG’s mission. “Leadership and meaningful women’s-centered relationships have kept me involved in SWSG,” Abby said. “I’ve risen from site leader to executive board member to chapter director; I’ve learned through the organization that I can actually make a difference and foster a positive environment for people to connect with one another.” Abby believes it is the relationships between mentors, co-mentors, and mentees that motivates others to also keep involved in SWSG. “That’s certainly the best part for me; connecting with women and girls makes me realize the amazing power that women have despite society’s assumptions about us.”
Impact of Mentoring
“I’m a first generation college student so I didn’t know what to expect when I was going to Simmons and I think a lot of the women in the organization have really helped me with that journey,” Abby said. The upperclassmen while she was an underclassman and the professional women in the organization have provided her with guidance and reassurance when she has needed it.
“Through having these relationships with them, I’ve realized that nobody is born perfect and you don’t achieve a state of perfection, but more importantly that you have to go through some struggle to get to the better aspects of things.”
When she first began as a new mentor, she was quiet and shy, which she realized was helpful for the quiet and shy girls to connect with. “Having mentors has been one of the most impactful parts of my growth. Mentors in my group affirmed the positive strategies I utilize during mentoring, but the girls also pushed me to have more of a voice,” Abby said. “More specifically, connecting with particular girls and realizing that they loved talking with me was one of the most impactful parts of mentoring.”
Cycles of Mutual Empowerment
Abby has noticed the aspects and forms in which working with the younger girls has been beneficial for her as they grow together. She’s felt empowered through witnessing the personal growth of a third grader she is particularly close to. “Cycles of mutual empowerment are, in short, the cycles where EVERYONE is empowered by women’s-centered relationships,” Abby said. “What this means is that the mentoring relationship is not only empowering to the children but also to the adults.” Being a leader in SWSG has helped build her confidence and ability to facilitate, a skill she plans to use in the classroom when she becomes a teacher. She also wants to continue being involved in SWSG after graduation. “I’ve grown really close to underclassmen in the organization right now, and I would love to go back and help them, ” Abby said.
To learn more about Strong Women Strong Girls, visit their website at SWSG.org