“They came in so shy, and changed so much,” says Sabria Brown. “It was amazing to see the character development within them.” Sounds like a Girls Inc. staffer talking about the girls she supports, right? Yes, but there’s a twist: Brown is just 18, a recent Girls Inc. alum herself, and is talking about the girls she helped, as a program facilitator for our new summer program for middle schoolers at Springfield’s Chestnut Accelerated Middle School.
“Sabria has this fantastic energy, and it was wonderful to watch the girls connect to someone who is a near-peer influence,” says Erin Placey, director of the program. “She really built camaraderie with the girls, and became an important confidant for them—as well as a role model.”
Sabria wore many hats this summer. She helped lead field trips to area colleges, oversaw afternoons of swimming, rowing and crafts. And she co-taught the Girls Inc. “Project Bold” curriculum, which strengthens girls’ abilities to lead safer lives. “We talked about sexuality, feminism, sexual harassment, menstrual cycles, everything I wish I learned in middle school,” said Sabria.
Now a freshman at Manhattan’s Berkley College, Sabria hopes to get a degree in marketing and communications, and also engage in activism for the African American community. She adds: “Girls Inc. has impacted my life in so many incredible ways. I want to take their value system and keep that going.”