In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, I wanted to share a recent experience that I was fortunate enough to take part in. As many of you may know, She+ Geeks Out has a long history of working with and supporting an amazing local organization, Science Club for Girls. For those who may be unfamiliar with SCFG and their mission, they are focused on connecting girls in K-12 grades with female mentors through free programming. They serve roughly 1,000 girls in more than 17 sites across Massachusetts. Their staff is passionate and puts in immense amounts of time and effort to serve their girls. You can actually learn more about their organization directly from their current Executive Director on our podcast!
Although we try to give back as much as possible, because most of our events tend to be 21+, we usually don’t hold very many joint events with SCFG. This made our recent joint event with Science Club for Girls even more special! The event was a mentoring culture share and potluck with around 20 SCFG teen junior mentors, along with several staff members. These girls were all high school girls (9-12 grades) and many of them have been involved in SCFG for years.
So, I’ll be completely honest– I wasn’t super pumped to give up a large chunk of my Sunday to an event. I am out of the house almost every night of the week, and weekends are my time to reset and recharge. And yes, I might have been a little cranky. However, all of my Grinch-like tendencies flew out the window once I arrived to the venue and the girls started arriving.
First of all, did I mention that this was a potluck? There was food. So much food. Many of the girls and staff members brought dishes that reflected their cultural heritage. I brought a kale quinoa salad that was a mash-up of two different recipes, because I am half Polish/half Indian so I felt it was a good reflection of my own personal mash-up. In addition, there was banana bread, Italian wedding cookies, pasta, scallion pancakes, shrimp dumplings, Jamaican jerk chicken, ginger molasses cookies, chicken and rice… I could go on but you’re probably already hungry and you get the point. Let’s just say I ate extremely well.
Then there were the SCFG staff. The organization, planning, and care that clearly went into designing the event was quite evident. Interacting with them and seeing first-hand how passionate they all were, even though they were spending a Sunday afternoon working, reminded me yet again why SCFG is so special.
Finally, there were the girls themselves. They. Were. Awesome! So full of energy, excitement, and normal teenage girl stuff. We did a few activities, ate a ton of food, and then participated in a mentoring session where small groups of girls moved from table to table, listening to adult women share their career journeys and professional lives. I know that many of us suffer from imposter syndrome, where we feel (and I’ll include myself in this) that we don’t have much to offer, or that we’re not that interesting. Let me tell you, after an afternoon spent with these girls, not only was I so impressed with them, but also I realized that I actually had something to offer them in return. I have the benefit of having lived through high school (phew!), college, grad school, my first/second/third jobs and more. It was inspiring to hear what plans the girls had for their futures. I also really enjoyed the fact that I could offer advice back to them.
In retrospect, I can’t think of a better way that I could have spent a few hours of my weekend– meeting, learning from, and hearing from amazing and bright young women who are going to change the world!
Interested in supporting Science Club for Girls further? Learn more and donate here.