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Finding Your Voice

I was immediately drawn to Molly.  She was quiet, painfully shy, and very hesitant.  It’s not often that people like her stick out in a crowd, especially in a lunch room filled with middle school students.  I noticed her before she even started attending our GUTS! group when I first visited the lunch room at C.S. Porter Middle School to recruit girls for my group. Seeing her sitting alone at lunch struck me.  I approached her individually and invited her to join Girls Using Their Strengths, although I assumed she’d never actually show up.  She didn’t seem like the kind of girl who would jump at the opportunity to be in a group that challenged young girls to try new things and step out of their comfort zones.  But the very next week, to my surprise, she did show up, and I was very glad.  By now I could see on her face that she was longing for relationships with other girls her age, confidence, and a trusted adult to listen to her even if she was unsure of what to expect.

On the first day of group we made “Me Trees.”  On our trees we used the branches to represent our goals for ourselves.  When it was her turn to share her goals, her cheeks turned bright red, her eyes looked toward the ground, and all she said was, “I want to be better at speaking out loud in front of people.”  After she spoke, I showed her my Me Tree.  On my paper I wrote the very same goal for myself.

I am drawn to Molly because I see so much of myself in her when I was in middle school, and I feel like I can understand how she feels and connect with her personality.   She is smart, observant, and deeply caring.  She has so much to say, but she hadn’t found her way of saying it yet.

Since our first group, I have watched her gain more confidence in herself, build off her strengths, and express her feelings.  She tries new things, she listens, she speaks out loud, and she has made new friends in the process.  I have been inspired by Molly’s bravery and honesty since day one, and she has embodied the true meaning of what it means to be a GUTS! girl.