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Club helps girls dream big

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Margaret Giloth remembers being painfully shy as a child.

She believes having eclectic hobbies helped find her identity: arranging flowers, collecting hats and modelling in fashion shows.

“I couldn't figure out who I was by following the crowd,” said the 62-year-old. “The common thread through everything I did was that I loved helping people.”

Roughly ten years ago she started a programme to help young people get that same experience. The Dream Girls Club is open to girls ages 9-17; Ms Giloth believes it's hard to achieve something if you don't have any ambition.

“So many young people have told me they have no interest. It's astounding,” she said. “Dream stands for Dancing, Reading, Expression, Art and Modelling. Those are some of the things girls love to do.”

The club's 80 members are split in three groups according to age. Their time together is spent doing community service and learning about everything from health and fitness to map reading.

They put on a tea for senior citizens this month and are in the middle of making a film highlighting what it's like to grow up without a father.

Seventeen-year-old Maegan Costa was one of the first seven members.

“Back then I felt like a little person in a big world,” she said. “I was bullied in primary school and the teachers didn't seem to help. My self-esteem was very low. When my mom told me about Dream Girls, I said, ‘Sign me up'.”

From the start she was inspired by Ms Giloth's energy and positivity.

“She gave us all these ideas for things we could do,” said Maegan. “It felt like the bar was being raised. I was given achievements I could try for and people I could look up to.

“If I wanted to be politician I could be a politician. If I wanted to be a lawyer, I could be one. It doesn't matter where you come from, it matters who you aspire to be.”

The group often takes her out of her comfort zone.

“At Easter we held a bake sale,” she said. “Normally I wouldn't be caught dead in a bunny suit, but I put one on for the Dream Girls Club.”

She's competing with Britney Bannister and Loria Packwood for the group's first academic scholarship.

“It's $5,000,” she said. “I'm in my last year at the Berkeley Institute. I'm studying hard and doing my best. My self-esteem is a lot better today. I want to become a teacher in elementary and middle school.”

Sarai Packwood, 10, has wanted to be a part of the club since her sister Loria joined.

“I was five and I begged to join,” said the Northlands Primary School student. “I had to wait until I was nine.

“I go because it is fun and is something I can do without worrying that someone will say something bad.”

Her dream is to become an entrepreneur or fashion designer. At Easter she baked 100 cupcakes for a club fundraiser.

“I was up all night,” she said. “I'd made cupcakes before but never that many. I was really proud of myself afterward, and tired.”

Alaynna Hinds, 15, said she loves the sisterhood of the group.

“I started a few years ago,” she said. “I felt a bit nervous walking through the door for the first time.

“I walked in and sat next to a few people and by the end of the session I had a bunch of new friends. Now some of the younger girls look up to me as a big sister.”

Ms Giloth's aim is to get the girls to “dream, dream, dream and dream big”.

“But I tell them, don't just keep your dreams in your head, get out and make them a reality.”

She runs the group with Meishka Zuill and Verna Jones.

The Dream Girls Club is free to join and meets at the Bermuda Youth Library on Saturdays. For more information: 734-4034 or margaretrose07@yahoo.com

Boosting self-esteem: Dream Girls, from left, Alaynna Hinds, facilitator Margaret Giloth, Sarai Packwood, Maegan Costa and facilitator Verna Jones (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Dream Girls Club (Photograph supplied)
Dream Girls doing a fitness workshop (Photograph supplied)
Dream Girls doing a map reading workshop (Photograph supplied)
Dream Girls in a manicure and mini facials workshop (Photograph supplied)
Confident move: Maegan Costa dressed as a rabbit at a Dream Girls bake sale at Easter
<p>Programme needs male input</p>

Some things just need a man’s input.

Margaret Giloth is looking for someone to help her teach “young men how to become the best dad they can be”.

It’s something she’s dreamt about for eight years.

“I invested in materials from an American programme developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative but I couldn’t find a man to commit to facilitating the workshop,” she said. “I’ve had two or three close decisions but not one to stick.

“I’ve come close to facilitating it myself — the NFI sanctions women to do so if necessary — but I strongly believe that a man or team of guys should do it.

“So if there’s a man reading this who wishes to make a meaningful contribution to this community then let’s get this programme started.”

Contact her on 734-4034 or margaretrose07@yahoo.com

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Published May 11, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 11, 2017 at 8:56 am)

Club helps girls dream big

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