Monthly Archives: November 2009

Close to home

It seems that every month there’s a new school for girls being built in a developing African nation by a philanthropic-minded celebrity. It is a direct result of the belief—which has received more attention in recent years than ever before—that if you take care of a community’s girls, the entire community thrives. It is the basis for the viral sensation, The Girl Effect. It is the impetus behind a recent blog posting by Queen Rania of Jordan. It is the mission of Oprah’s school in South Africa. It is the theme of the noted new book, Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The thought process is simple: invest in a girl by giving her the tools she needs to succeed. When she has those tools, she can: avoid early pregnancy, get a proper education, become a contributing member of society. She has a better chance of discontinuing the cycle of poverty that is often the result of a lack of education or an early pregnancy.

But what about the girls here? Literally here, in our own backyard? Yes, girls in developing nations have drastically less resources than those available to girls in this country.  However, does that fact make girls in this country less deserving of an investment in their success? These girls are in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. They are also in South Boston, Brookline, and Waltham. They are the 3,000 girls we serve annually through our mentoring programs and the more than 300 girls waiting to be matched with a Big Sister.

When you support programs that are designed to give girls the tools they need to succeed, you empower our entire community. When we make an investment in girls—whether it is time or money—it sends a message to girls that they matter. When girls know they matter their confidence grows; they see more options available to them. When girls are armed with confidence they make healthier decisions: they stay in school and often do better, they avoid early pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse. They have the chance to avoid repeating the cycle of poverty. They have the power to believe that there is nothing they cannot do, become, or achieve.

As the saying goes, we should think globally, act locally. So, what do you think? Why is it important to Boston’s overall health to make an investment in girls?