Photography courtesy of Paul Schutz
This summer my niece participated in a summer program called SummHER, facilitated by One Million Girls. ONE MILLION GIRLS is a global non-profit organization striving to empower, educate, & emergize the girl child residing in various regions of the world.
Although it brings me so much joy when I'm with young girls, it always makes me nervous, the good nervous though.
The day I volunteered, I was a chaperon along with Hananatu Tunis, the founder of One Million Girls. For the final week of the program, we were taking the girls on a day trip. It was 14 girls, 2 adult chaperons, and we were traveling from Staten Island.
While mobbing uptown, Paul Schutz began taking shots of the girls, as you can see they knew what to do :}
I don't make the time to volunteer because of my focus on school. But after the boat ride, the girls completely opened up to me. It was a pleasure and an absolute honor to be their chaperon. While uptown, we took a self-guided tour on the Barnard College campus. Luck will have it, we stumbled into a dance rehearsal.
I watched as the girls gave their undivided attention to the dancers, at some point imitating them. Growing up, I had supportive adult women, and positive role models, in addition to my mother, and older sisters. So to witness them watch dancers rehearse and later proclaim that they also wanted to dance made me feel complete.
It's not rocket science that representation matters. Exposure matters. Access matters. Positive reinforcements matter. I feel blessed to be a part of their joy, even if it was only for a day.