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.
As we wrap up our first ever virtual event — and a 5K, at that — I must take time to thank everyone. Almost 75 participants helped raise awareness of the negative impact of bullying, helped raise funds to create improved programming on the topic of bullying, and gave us the opportunity to award a mini-grant to help stop bullying. Participants completed their ‘virtual 5K’ by running, walking, taking their dog for a walk, helping their neighbor, doing household chores... almost anything was converted to complete their 5K. Sponsorship by Masters Gallery helped make the event possible, including helping cover registration for several students that otherwise would not have been able to participate. A grant from Sheboygan Area United Way also helped H4G make this event possible during a pandemic. A big THANK YOU to everyone! Remember, speak up when you see a bully!