As the year 2000 passed us by, I envisioned making a difference. I sat down with a past employee and good friend from my years in broadcast management to brainstorm ways to make a positive impact. Both of us had faced serious challenges as teenagers and had significant support systems that helped us through those years. After some serious discussions, doing our research, and interviewing community leaders, Horizons4Girls (H4G) was born.
Resources such as United Way of Sheboygan County, Search Institute, Mentoring.org, Lakeland College (now University), Health and Human Services, and area school districts helped H4G create policies and procedures, as well as a program to train and certify mentors that would serve at-risk middle and high school female students — done 100% by volunteers.
A mission was created stating that Horizons4Girls ignites that internal spark that empowers students to accomplish their academic and personal goals. We are proud to say that 100% of students that stay engaged in the program graduate high school, with many going on to secondary education options. Mentors help with study skills, communication skills, education regarding drugs and alcohol, conflict resolution, life skills, community service, and leadership skills.
For over 70% of the families we work with, English is a second language, and communication must be done through an interpreter. But still, H4G develops meaningful relationships.
One such story: Sexual abuse by a family member. Attempted suicide. Poor school attendance. Dysfunctional family life. But a relationship was built, a passion was followed, high school graduation realized, a summer of service work in AmeriCorp completed. College. Marriage. Family. That relationship, started years ago in high school, comes full circle as that student returns to share her insights as she now builds relationships with current students.A $120 donation this Christmas will make training resources available for a mentor for that critical 1st year as they start on this new venture. Or, why not make that New Year's resolution this holiday season and join those volunteers learning to develop meaningful relationships with students at Horizons4Girls.
Entering their 10th year, H4G volunteers are trained to become certified mentors. Certified mentors develop long-term developmental relationships with their students, thus contributing to their success.
Search Institute research states, "We’ve known for decades that high-quality relationships are essential to young people’s growing, learning, and thriving—including for those young people who face serious stresses in their lives and in the world around them."
Give that special inspiration this holiday season!
COVID UPDATE—Horizons4Girls continues working virtually with students, families and educators. Your support is MORE important than ever!