Women Like Us Foundation supports women’s leadership for Gender Equality and Social Justice in the areas of Sex Trafficking, Homelessness and Education. It is the purpose of our blogs to create awareness of the work of women and the impact they are making on the world.
One Girl at a Time Program
Five Different Foster Homes by Age 7
Kayla was born to a mother who was a drug addict and who didn’t know who Kayla’s father was. There were three other children in the family, all growing up with Kayla in an abusive environment. Soon the young siblings were split up between other family members who weren’t invested in their well-being and eventually Children’s Services sent them to various foster homes.
Kayla herself lived with five different families by the time she was 7. She was troubled and had given up on anyone caring about her. Feeling unloved, Kayla felt her life would never have meaning. Then miraculously, a young couple with two other children decided to foster her. Upon hearing Kayla’s story and getting to know her, they soon adopted her siblings as well and they all thrived.
Mentoring Making the Difference
When Kayla entered the One Girl at a Time Program she was part of that new wonderful family but she still was very lost, unconfident, and confused. As she got involved in the program, she began to find a way to move forward in her life, believing in herself and going after dreams, knowing that achieving them was possible. Not only does she have confidence now and the tools to make good life decisions, but she also has hope.
Through the learning Kayla gained in the program workshops on leadership skills and career guidance, she now holds her head high. The mentoring she received from the volunteers who truly got to know her led Kayla to understanding her inner beauty and her importance to society.
Giving Back to Other Teens and A Bright Future
On her own, inspired by volunteering with One Girl at a Time, Kayla started a group who collects items for homeless teens. She is now an honor student and has finished AP classes. Kayla graduated from high school last year and was accepted to several colleges where she received scholarships.
When Deb Myers, the National Director of the One Girl at a Time Program, saw her before she went to college, Kayla said to her “Thanks for believing in me and loving me. Please know that it is because of this program and all the wonderful people who helped that I am where I am today. Honestly, I didn’t think I would live this long and now I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”
Behind the Scenes
One Girl at a Time is an incredible program that the Women Like Us Foundation is proud to bring to our communities. Deb Myers, also the President of the Board of Directors, started the program in 2011 with Linda Rendleman, the CEO and Co-founder of the Women Like Us Foundation. After Deb joined the organization, she was asked where she thought she would be most valuable. Deb responded with “Let’s start young”, recognizing the tremendous needs of teen girls.
Given the statistic that only one in four girls believes she can turn to an adult if she has a problem, Deb desired to help girls understand the value they hold in society, while connecting with other caring women as role models. One Girl at a Time creates a strong sisterhood of support among the girls and mentors.
As Deb shares, “One of the things I love about this program is creating a sisterhood of support. Bonds between women are a force to be reckoned with. We band together protecting and empowering each other, knowing that we can count on the love and support created together. That’s what true mentoring is all about”. This deeply impacts the girls and leads to life changing results, like with Kayla. It’s through the passion of Deb Myers and the committed mentors and volunteers that the girls in the program thrive.
The program is based on experiential learning, open and encouraging discussions, learning life skills, embracing leadership and creating an environment where interest, care, and concern for the girls are all shown. Deb has numerous success stories about the girls in her program and Kayla’s story is just one of them.
Clearly, One Girl at a Time is making an impact on young women today. To learn more about the One Girl at a Time Program and Deb Myers go to One Girl at a Time.
Blog author Molly Lyda, MA is a Life Coach and Therapist in Los Angeles, who supports women in finding balance and purpose in their lives through her program Intimacy 101: Create the Life You Want. She enjoys volunteering with the Women Like Us Foundation and working to make a difference in all women’s lives. http://www.MollyLyda.com