Macy Degnan,Communication & Development Specialist
This question stuck with me when I heard Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat. Pray. Love., speak about her new book, Big Magic. As a natural introvert, she explained that to push herself out of her comfort zone, she made it her mission to ask that question to everyone she encountered on her book tour. She explained how this drove her to make genuine human connections; to be present every time she met someone new.
The question invited me to pause, to reflect on what I was feeling, to understand my thoughts, and what I know to be true.
In this quiet space, one thought came to mind.
I am so honored to hear the stories of girls’ lived experiences and am in awe of their courage. What most excites me is the opportunity to elevate their voices in our community, nationally, and internationally. By elevating the voices of girls I have seen significant change in our community. Duval County has sustained a 67% decrease in girls’ incarceration since 2013. Nationally, girls are being recognized for their strength. Alyssa Beck, Policy Center’s Training and Advocacy Specialist, has been invited to serve on a national panel for the Annie E. Casey Foundation for being a fierce advocate by sharing her story and elevating the voices of victims of sex trafficking. Internationally, countries including Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria (just to name a few) want to hear from us about how we work with girls as partners in our work. Girls are experts in their own lives and people are finally starting to listen; seeing this shift not only in our community but nationally and internationally is exciting.
Blythe Zayets, the Policy Center’s Research Project Manager, shared with me that this question reminds her what we ask girls in our suspension intervention program, Girl Matters®: It’s Elementary (GMIE), “If you could make things great for all girls, what would you do?” I want to share some responses:
“I would throw them a party every day of their lives.”
“Make their wishes come true.”
“I would get together with them and listen to them like the GMIE mentor does.”
The Big Magic, the thing that excites me most right now, is the pure wisdom, strength, and courage of the girls I am honored to work alongside. We all have so much to learn from girls.
So now, I want to invite everyone reading this to pause, reflect, and answer these questions; What are you most excited about in your life right now? If you could make things great for all girls, what would you do?