Ruby, a rising sophomore, told us about the very difficult decision to leave a close relationship, one of her best friends since pre-school.

He sent a huge text, swearing at me, blaming his relationship problems on me. I replied, apologizing, and still felt awful. At first I blamed myself.

Before Girls Leadership I would not have had the confidence or skills to recognize a bad relationship, and know it was time to leave the situation. I was blaming myself, and torturing myself over a situation that wasn’t my fault.

Girls Leadership taught me that I deserve respect, I have value, I deserve better; that I don’t need to apologize all the time. Sometimes I deserve the apology. I won’t always receive one. I learned how to know what I’m feeling.

I let myself feel sad and hurt. I cried, and called my mom. Before Girls Leadership, I wouldn’t have handled it that way. I was insecure even to talk about myself. I never would have gotten out of that rut. Now I’m in touch with my feelings, and I just wasn’t before.

There is no better example of personal leadership than leaving an unhealthy relationship. By practicing this in ninth grade, Ruby has acquired a skill set (respecting feelings, making choices, expressing choices, and going through all the emotions that go with those actions) that will serve her over a lifetime.

These skills aren’t acquired quickly. Ruby has been coming to Girls Leadership on scholarship since her sixth grade summer. Once we give a family a scholarship, we commit to maintaining it summer after summer to ensure that their girls can be part of our community long term.

Nothing is a more powerful teacher to a girl that her sisterhood. The girls from the Summer Program text or talk weekly, and Ruby says it is easy to keep in touch all year, since they “learned how to talk about things that matter.”

This year Ruby is returning for her fifth summer and next year we hope that she’ll become a Counselor in Training. We can’t imagine a better role model for our middle school girls! In order for us to keep our commitment to girls like Ruby and their families, we need your support.

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