of Greater Santa Barbara

Impact Story

Roz: Imagining a Future for Girls

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As the guest “girl” speaker at the 2017 Scholarship Luncheon, “Imagining the Future for Girls,” Roz, 14, was asked to imagine her own future and share how her seven years at Girls Inc. opened her eyes to a future of endless possibilities.

“I come from a single parent family, and when I started kindergarten, my mom was scrambling to find somewhere to put me after school. She went in search of a daycare, a place with adults to keep an eye on me for a couple hours, and she found this. She found Girls Inc.”

Where else can girls take classes on world cultures, applied sciences, women’s history, American Sign Language, and coding, all before the sixth grade? Girls Inc. and it’s intentional programming became a huge part of Roz’s life, and shaped who she is in countless ways.

“The first dance class I ever attended was when I was about 5. For about a year after that, my greatest ambition was to be a ballerina. Then, I read a book in the Girls Inc. library called, “A Day in the Life of an Architect,” and was immediately hooked. Frank Lloyd Wright, Julia Morgan, Zaha Hadid, they became my passions. Some days, when I look into my future, I see a filmmaker, an actress, or a producer. My love for acting, performing, and visual storytelling began in third grade, in a Girls Inc. play production. I came to Girls Inc. after school nearly every day for 7 years, and it had an amazing impact on me.”

In 2017, Roz decided she wanted to give back to the organization that had given so much to her. She wanted other girls to get the same support that she got from dedicated staff members and volunteers. So Roz became a teen tutor in the BOOST program, working with first and second graders who may have fallen behind in school or need extra support to build academic confidence.

“Volunteering with BOOST has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. On the first day, I was tutoring a girl who was reluctant to name a favorite subject because she didn’t like any of them. By the end of the BOOST quarter, she couldn’t name one because she wanted to choose them all. So many doors were opened for that one girl in just a few short weeks of support and encouragement. Her future became one of endless possibilities.”

I love to look at some of the girls I tutor and imagine their futures. When I look at one, I see a head of state… a business executive… a lawyer. When I look at another, I see a brilliant chemist… a computer genius…an engineer. Another girl could be a firefighter, a police officer, or a paramedic. Artist or world leader, mother or childless, married or single: all of these futures are there for these girls to take, and countless more that we can’t even envision yet. But I can imagine.

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