Touted by CEO and Founder, the Rev. Dawn Martin, as “a new way to create girl power,” the non-profit organization Girls Empowered and Mentored to Success (G.E.M.S.) aims to teach girls ages 4 to 16 to “become responsible and respectful women.”
As Martin explains, G.E.M.S. works to maintain the personal and social development and education of young women in the communities of Montgomery County and to provide assistance with parents and educators. G.E.M.S. accomplishes its goal to create a safe, exciting and educational environment through several social activities and creative workshops.
The junior version of G.E.M.S. is called the Princess Club. For girls ages 4 to 10, the Princess Club allows bonding time for the girls and the women most important in their lives. “We will have interactive activities that will allow room for growth in the areas of social and educational skills,” explains Martin. “The Princess Club provides the little girls the opportunity to create long lasting friendships and sisterhoods.”
Older girls, ages 11 to 16, participate in the main G.E.M.S. program. This program strives to further introduce etiquette and educational ways to becoming an adult woman by partnering the young women with professionals in the area to serve as mentors and sponsors well into the future, and to give the girls guidance on daily social situations. A similar program, W.E.M.S., extends its message to women of the community and those incarcerated at the Dayton Correctional Institution. The goal of this program is to be the “catalyst from pain to purpose” for participants.
G.E.M.S. preaches three components to success: Reliability, accountability and respect. The three components are identified and taught in three modules administered in seven week increments. After these modules, Martin says, each participant will come to understand that a healthy lifestyle includes mind, body and spirit wellbeing. Participants garner a deeper appreciation of what it means to become their brother’s or sister’s keeper through self-worth and community action.
Beyond its own programs, G.E.M.S. fights against bullying and girl against girl violence. The program is part of the Million T-Shirt March to stand against bullying and has collected over 500 hand stamps from the community to “stand in agreement that this violence against one another is a disgrace to all of us as future leaders of our communities and the world.” G.E.M.S. is also involved in the arts and culture of Montgomery County by attending theatre programs and hosting City Wide Tea Parties and other social events to foster the social development of the girls in the program.
G.E.M.S plans to take its message to schools nationwide. This fall, G.E.M.S. will incorporate youth ministries, after-school programming and juvenile justice programming. G.E.M.S. also plans offer an 8-hour training session for those interested in being a facilitator and teaching the program in their community. To learn more about G.E.M.S. or get involved, contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on the G.E.M.S. Facebook page.