Girls’ club releases Phenomenal book
The book is called Extraordinary Stories From Phenomenal Girls and it’s been a year in the making for Margaret Giloth and members of the Dream Girls Club.
Phenomenal People, the charity behind it, set the publication as a 2019 goal. Its official launch takes place on Saturday at the Bermuda Youth Library, where the group holds its weekly meetings.
“I asked them to think about what makes them a phenomenal person,” said Ms Giloth, who founded the Dream Girls Club as a mentoring scheme in 2008. “I told them to take the summer, to think of a word that makes them phenomenal, develop it over the summer break and we’ll pick it up when we come back in September.”
She was presented with the efforts of the girls, all aged between nine and 17, when the club’s meetings resumed after the summer break. Most impressive to Ms Giloth was the level of “self-introspection” involved; the girls wrote of their uniqueness, their spirituality and love of family.
“Extraordinary Stories From Phenomenal Girls gives a peek into the lives of a group of phenomenal women who are learning to live life on their own terms with passion, compassion, humour and style,” she said.
“Some had written a word, some a paragraph, some wrote longer pieces. So everything in life is represented in these stories.”
Ms Giloth created the Dream Girls Club with an eye to enhancing “youth development and empowerment”.
“Relevant life skills are transferred as participants practise the art of dreaming and fulfilling goals and objectives,” she said, explaining that the club name is an acronym for some of the activities on offer: dancing, reading, expression, art and acting and modelling.
“The book is a compilation piece. Every year Dream Girls comes up with a vision for something to accomplish and in 2018 we decided to write a book.”
Amari Burgess, Sajnia Talbot, Megan Costa, Nicole Corday and Myeisha Sharrieff are among those who shared their tales. Ms Giloth said it’s her hope that the exercises helps them recognise their self-worth.
“Self-esteem building is the foundation of what our goals are. If we love ourselves, we can go forth and dream and make those dreams come true. The Dream Girls Club is about helping girls recognise that life is full and rich and big and you have a right to a big piece of it.
Many times those constructs are not demonstrated strongly in families so external forces like myself and our programme enrich the lives of young people.
We instil positive values, positive identity, in an environment where there is so much stress, so much bullying. They can come away and feel that there is somebody who cares.”
Ms Giloth had benefited from a similar programme while a student. In 2005, shortly after she returned to Bermuda having lived in California for many years, she decided to start something similar here.
“I knew I was to do some sort of ministry, some sort of helping service. I saw the need among women for some sort of support,” she said.
“I was very shy as a young girl. I feared so much. Everything was so big. But then I got into modelling, which was a total dichotomy. A mentor came to my high school and started a charm school and incorporated modelling in that. Much to my own amazement I got on a stage and loved it.”
She started a self-help programme, Eagles Wings, and then the Youth Library asked her to be part of a reading club for girls.
“That’s how we started in October 2008 and it soon evolved into more than that,” said Ms Giloth, who until recently ran the government’s after-school care programme.
“I saw all this great talent and these girls had lots of energy. It evolved into more of a mentorship.
“I recognised that lots of young people didn’t have any long-term goals. I started to see a need for guidance, into speaking their truth and what they desire in life. I just want them to be confident about who they are.
“It’s all been from the desire of my heart. I do it purely out of love with help from volunteers, people who are attracted by what we do.
“We’re not only mentoring young girls but we also influence the mothers and caregivers of the girls. It’s been an amazing rewarding experience and I’m thankful that the book comes out at this pivotal time to celebrate our accomplishments.”
• What the girls wrote
Amari Burgess: “I would describe myself as kind, loving and generous. My passion is singing. I love to sing because most of my family sings. I love to sing alone because it makes me feel like I’m in a different world.”
Sajnia Talbot: “I like animals more than some people because they are much nicer and calm and softer, like my fuzz ball whose name is Cupcake Cola. I get frustrated at some people who can be irritating and bossy. But others, like [DREAM Girls Club founder Margaret Giloth] are nice, calm and encouraging.”
Megan Costa: “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve made choices to do things in the past that, now looking back and re-evaluating, could have been done better. I could have thought about the situation more before going head first into the fire. I’ve now learned to stop and reflect on some of my past decisions to make sure I’m not going to make whatever is happening worse.”
• The official launch of Extraordinary Stories From Phenomenal Girls takes place at the Bermuda Youth Library on Saturday between 10am and 1pm. Dream Girls Club meets there every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm. Membership is free. Register at the library or contact Margaret Giloth on 734-4034
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