By: Bella Gerard
If you’ve yet to hear about student organization GirlTalk, you might want to listen up, because they’re about to take campus by storm. Operated out of the Center for Social Justice, GirlTalk mentor high school girls every Friday, engaging in conversation on everything from education and college to personal health.
GirlTalk has taken the idea of Cura Personalis to a whole new level – members mentor the female students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a DC Public School that caters to traditional and creative education through visual arts, vocal music, instrumental music, dance, technology production, and museum studies. Their students range in age and ethnic background, and their mentors are just as happy to be with them as vice versa.
“The program facilitates the growth of long lasting friendships and bonds amongst the Georgetown mentors, and unites students from various communities all over campus,” explains president Monika Dawson. “It is important that the student body carries out the missions and goals of the university, and GirlTalk helps us do just that.”
The organization has been on campus for around ten years, but Dawson’s takeover has transformed the club, giving them a more efficient – and impactful – presence. Says Dawson of her presidency: “What’s most important about my role is creating a climate of comfort, synergy, and security amongst each other- you can’t give others what you don’t have yourself, and our organizational bond is what matters the most.” She describes the club members and their mentees as incredibly close and dedicated, “Essentially, we are a sisterhood of mentors whom are dedicated to giving back to the community and our youth,” says Dawson, adding that the goal of the mentorship is to produce “authentic, genuine relationships with our girls.”
Jazmin Pruitt, a freshman in the college, claims the program is just as beneficial to her as it is to the girls she mentors. “What I love most about about being in GirlTalk is how it forces me to reach outside of myself to provide a good example,” says Pruitt. “Mentoring them is helping mold and polish our characters as we help mold and shape theirs. For example, every time we mentor and discuss different issues it gives me a great feeling knowing that we are planting a seed for these young ladies to perpetuate what we are doing by paying it forward, just as we are with them.”
Dawson echoes similar feelings when it comes to their connection with the students. “As we matriculate through college, they matriculate through their high school careers and it is now better feeling that watching the girls evolve into driven, passionate, caring successful women. Even as mentors, we gain so much perspective when we engage in conversation with them over various topics.”
GirlTalk do tons for the students at Duke Ellington, but they’re also looking to do something for their peers, in the form of exciting on-campus events. At the end of the spring semester, they’ll host Urban Fare: A Duke Ellington Showcase, on April 3, 2016 from 6pm-8pm in Gaston Hall (Tickets went on sale March 1st). The showcase is a GirlTalk tradition that allows mentees to showcase their talents – not only do Duke Ellington girls perform, but also expect to see a celebrity guest and some Hoya performers, like the talented GU Jawani and others. Prior to this event, GirlTalk will be hosting a mixer called Chop It Up! in collaboration with Hilltoss on St. Patrick’s Day. The event boasts discounted treats courtesy of Hilltoss, a live DJ, a photobooth, and of course, the lovely ladies of GirlTalk. Coupons for the event are available from GirlTalk members at Hilltoss between 4-6pm on March 1st, 14th, and 15th.