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Girls Inc. Youth Advocate for Girls in Washington D.C.

By Rachel Kargleder, Girls Inc. Youth Counselor
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YWCA Minneapolis had a tremendous opportunity to send participants to represent the national organization in Washington D.C. as part of the Girls Action Network initiative. The Girls Action Network began as a way to hear from girls the type of barriers they face daily, and how policy solutions and advocacy could facilitate change within their communities.  

Networking, Lobbying and Advocating

Along with other girls from around the country, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis participants, Sophie, Penelope and Eden, traveled to Washington D.C. to get experience networking and lobbying. They also learned about advocacy through workshops and presentations with women leaders. During their stay, the group explored the many historical sites Washington D.C. has to offer. They toured the White House, visited monuments and Smithsonian museums and explored Capitol Hill.

An Inspiring and Liberating Experience

Eden, a sophomore in the Girls Inc. Eureka! program remarks on her time during the trip:

“My experience in D.C. with the Girls Action Network was inspiring and above all, liberating. It was quite empowering to gather with girls who are passionate about creating a more equal nation for women.

There was pure excitement felt by everyone to advocate for girls nationwide who are struggling with mental health or sexual violence issues. It was an influential occasion to see women working together for themselves and other women – to not tear each other apart, but to hold each other up. I was extremely inspired to see my peers working together to let their stories be heard and to let their voices ring loud and clear.

It has instilled in me the desire to create more of these types of opportunities. I dream that all young girls get to be part of a group like the Girls Action Network and to feel liberated enough to speak without fear.”

An Opportunity to Lead

For the Girls Inc. youth, this trip was extremely rewarding – it gave them the opportunity to be leaders and represent their Girls Inc. communities. It was also a chance to have their voices heard by lawmakers in our country.

A big takeaway from the trip was experiencing the power of advocacy and learning how to stand up politically for the rights of girls and women. This trip made a lasting impression – one that will influence these young women throughout their lives.