The Dolls were lucky enough to witness a one of a kind memory as GirlForward celebrated its fifth year. GirlForward is an organization native to Chicago but also has a branch in Austin, Texas. The organization’s mission is to provide adolescent refugee girls with individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident, and independent.
When women support each other incredible things happen.”
The fifth birthday celebration was held at Mars Gallery in the West Loop and was an evening to remember. The lovely ladies behind the organization have a magic about them, which you can sense from simply being in the same room. Blair Brettschneider created the organization and often jokes about how she doesn’t even remember the start. Blair always remains humble in thanking her squad who has supported her vision for half a decade.
WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS” – Beyoncé
Each year, thousands of refugees are forced to flee their homes due to a fear of persecution. Some of the refugees are invited to live in the United States. In recent years, about 70,000 people have been admitted annually through the U.S. refugee resettlement program, representing countries such as Bhutan, Iraq, Burma, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, and more.
Being resettled in the U.S. presents families with great opportunities and tremendous challenges. Adolescent girls in particular face overwhelming responsibilities and social isolation, and generally receive the fewest resources and least amount of support.
In addition to figuring out how to navigate an unfamiliar environment, a new country, a new culture and American school systems. Girls often must act as caregivers and translators. They do all of this while living in poverty and struggling to learn English and succeed in school. This is where GirlForward enters the picture.
The GirlForward mentorship programs match’s girls ages 14-19 with women volunteer mentors who commit to one year of individual mentoring, meeting weekly to help girls set and achieve their goals. The Mentoring Program empowers girls by focusing on our 4 W’s: Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and World.
To apply to be a mentor, Click this link: APPLICATION
To Donate to GIRLFORWARD, Click below: