Gail Lee Gardner, founder of I Am Blossoms
Use what you have today to empower a brighter tomorrow. That’s seedling of an idea that eventually grew into I Am Blossoms, a non-profit organization for young women that creates a new way of thinking and educates young women about life.
I Am Blossoms was founded in 2010 by Gail Lee Gardner as an after school program. This voluntary program’s mission is to empower the lives of young women ages 9-12, and is currently serving Cincinnati Public Schools. “Our focus includes raising academic achievement, increasing self confidence, and assisting young women with the life skills they need to reach their full potential,” says Gardner.
The program was inspired by Gardner’s involvement with the Parent Leadership Institute offered through the Cincinnati Public School System. The Parent Leadership Institute helps parents empower their children through the educational system, further teaching them to become advocates for their children. Upon Gardner’s completion of the program, she was charged with the responsibility of creating a program to engage parental involvement. That’s when she launched I Am Blossoms.
Today, the young women of I Am Blossoms participate in activities such as gardening, creating vision boards, serving local communities, photo shoots, and their very own Book Club. The I Am Blossoms’ Book Club consists of reading self-improvement resources and inspirational books, and it also helps to achieve their goal of raising academic achievement. “We believe that reading is the foundation to an education,” explains Gardner.
Literacy is just one of the areas of focus for I Am Blossoms. “We focus on five key areas of life, which involve becoming mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially fit,” says Gardner. “This creates positive exposure for our young women, empowering them to become leaders in our society.”
Currently, I Am Blossoms is in the process of planning its first annual “Going Back to School Fashion Show,” which is set to launch in the summer of 2014. “The fashion show will consist of giving away school supplies and donating to a local charity,” says Gardner. “The purpose of the fashion show is to bring awareness to I Am Blossoms Organization and its role in positively influencing young women in the community. Also, the reason for donating to a local charity is to show and educate the young women about the importance of philanthropy.” The young women of I Am Blossoms will model the clothes that will later be auctioned in the show, and all proceeds from the auction will go to a local charity.
Since 2010, I Am Blossoms has served more than 90 young women. “We have had proven success since the initiation of our program,” explains Gardner. “The ultimate goal of I Am Blossoms International is to establish a chapter in every school and community, so that our message of leadership and discovering your purpose is readily available to every girl.”
I Am Blossoms is looking forward to new developments in the new year. “We are looking forward to expanding our services to include summer camps, life trips, new literature for our book club, philanthropy, community service, and much more as we approach 2014,” explains Gardner.
The organization heavily depends on volunteer help, so I Am Blossoms is currently seeking creative, self-motivated individuals who are interested in gaining a unique volunteer experience. “We need volunteers with a multitude of skills sets to accommodate the growth of our program,” says Gardner. “Volunteers may seek interest in tutoring, fundraising events, communications, administrative, marketing, video production, photography, hair & make-up, and much more.”