Girl power is taking over Troup County.
The organization Girl Power and Emerging Women is growing stronger in numbers and in the lessons learned by the young women who are apart of the group. “These girls want to be role models to their peers and young girls,” explained President, Denise Mosley. “The girls want to dispel negativity and bullying. They want to be leaders in the local and global community.”
According to Mosely, the group inspires young girls, aged 12-19, to be strong, smart, and bold. They meet at least once a month and talk about topics like self esteem, peer pressure, and bullying. But Mosley said they also tackle deeper issues, such as sexuality and teen pregnancy. The meetings aren’t just for the girls; their mothers are invited too.
“It’s important to me to create the mother/daughter bond,” said Mosley.
Consuella Grant described her relationship with her 18-year-old daughter, Kristina Smith, as rocky. Then, Kristina attended a GPEW retreat at Callaway Gardens.
“She came back a different child,” Grant said. “Her demeanor and spirit were lifted. I love it. She’s had so much opened up to her. She’s blossomed and when she’s happy, I’m happy.”
“We didn’t have that communication [ between us]. Now, we’ve opened up,” explained Smith.
Both mother and daughter regularly attend GPEW meetings and retreats.
“I feel welcomed. I love Girl Power. I’ve made a lot of new friends. It’s amazing.” said Smith.
The group was started by Mosely’s daughter, 14-year-old Iyanla, while she was trying to decide on a platform for a beauty pageant. “I wanted someone there to help me with self esteem and school. I thought, ‘maybe other girls feel the same way I do.’ We prayed and trusted in God,” Iyanla said. “And look where we are now. One big family.”
“Before I joined, I had low self esteem,” said 15-year-old, Tiana Gates. “Now I have sisters. We have so much in common and we have a close bond.”
The girls hold meetings, attend seminars, do volunteer work in the community, go on retreats, and job shadow with older women in leadership positions.
“It’s an enrichment program,” explained Mosley. “We promote self esteem, teach them how to handle peer pressure, and focus on the future.”
Girl Power and Emerging Women headquarters even has a computer lab for the girls to do their homework and prepare for the ACT’s and SAT’s online.
The group is something both Mosley and Grant said they wish was available to them when they were teenagers. “It would have been very beneficial,” said Grant. “I really didn’t have that sister or mentor to go to. She [Kristina] has many moms here. She can go to them because I know they’ll give out good advice.”
“I wasn’t popular. I had trials growing up.” Mosley said. “It’s hard growing up as a girl and not fitting into the ‘in’ crowd.”
But she admitted the pressure for young girls today is far greater than what it was a few years ago. “The girls have to be better, faster, stronger,” Mosley said. “There’s a lot of pressure to excel from the rest of the world too.”
The girls said they deal with a lot of ‘drama’ in school, in addition to peer pressure, trust issues, and low self esteem.
Girl Power and Emerging Women has about 50 members and is involved in the Troup County School System. Right now, they have an after school program at Callaway Middle School. Both Mosley and the girls hopes to expand by doing more community outreach events, such as volunteering at day cares and soup kitchens, and mentoring young girls.
“If we go and spread the word to other teens, maybe Girl Power will have the same affect on their lives as it did on ours,” said Smith.
The organization is growing. The group just held a grand opening of their new location off West Point Road. Mosley said this summer they’ll hold summer camps, cheerleading and dance camp, retreats, plus a 3K run/ walk, and a concert. Next year, Mosley hopes to have their first official scholarship pageant. But they’re not stopping there.
“Our goal is to be global,” said Mosley. ” We want to become a company, so when the girls graduate, they can come back and work for their company.”
For more information on the Girl Power and Emerging Women, visit their web site www.girlpowernation.com, or call them at (706) 882-0950.