Yesterday two Guest House residents, a member of our aftercare program, Kari (Executive Director), and myself went to speak with a group of middle school aged girls as part of the Guest House Speakers Bureau program. These girls were all participants in the SOHO (Space Of Her Own) program and are considered “at-risk youth.”
I was immediately amazed by the intelligence and energy these girls brought to the discussion! Before we arrived, the two Guest House residents that came were incredibly nervous to speak to a group about their experiences. They didn't know how they would be received and didn't know if the girls would be interested in what they had to say. Their fears were quelled about a minute after we walked in the building. All the girls were anticipating our arrival, and when we walked in they ran over to greet us.
The SOHO girls has so many questions and listened carefully to every response. After one speaker finished, at least 5 little hands shot up! It only took a couple of minutes for all of our speakers to loosen up and feel really comfortable in the space. After we finished speaking, the SOHO girls invited us to stay for a light dinner – which we were happy to agree to!
We went across the street to a park and enjoyed our meal by the water. The girls talked about what they wanted to be when they were older; one wanted to be a lawyer, another a police officer, and another wanted to be a model. We really encouraged them to always keep dreaming and to remember that education is the way to a successful life.
When it was time for us to leave, every single girl hugged and thanked us for coming to talk with them, They even invited us to their graduation on June 2nd! Which we plan on attending!
When we left, both of our residents (the ones who were terrified about speaking to a group mere hours before) asked when the next speakers engagement was – because they were going! Those girls at SOHO managed to eliminate fear and uncertainty with their beautiful smiles and heartwarming laughter. Truly amazing!
Thank you to everyone in the SOHO program for having us come in! We really enjoyed every moment of it.
If you want to volunteer and be a mentor for a girl in the SOHO program, check out their website