A Diamond in the ROUGH
Posted by Jenny Schaeffer Apr 4, 2015 Brittany Obey, female delinquency, mentor
Makissa Lewis is a former Strong Women, Strong Girls mentor (South Florida) who is apart of the Next Generation Service (NGS) Movement program. Makissa is a role model to all young girls. Makissa is an example of being ambitious when it comes to achieving your dreams and working with passion. Lewis, who attended graduate school in south Florida, wrote a paper titled Female Delinquents: A Study in Neglect, which gave evidence of her notion that female delinquents were not in any way trying to be like their male counterparts, but rather delinquent in their own right . Lewis pursued her passion, by studying gender studies and focusing on juvenile justice, she began taking an active approach in learning more about her passion by engaging in experiences that would give her an insight in the juvenile systems while allowing her to work with youth.
While a graduate student, Makissa became a Strong Women, Strong Girls mentor with AmeriCorps and that’s when she had one of life’s teachable moments. One week, the activity of the day was to perform a play and when one of the girls noticed the lead role would typically be played by a male, Makissa seized the moment to empower the girls to know they can be anything they want to be! “I explained to a girl that playing a judge could be a girl, since a woman can be a judge. I always remember that incident because I feel that girl would less likely turn to violence because she knows she can be anything she wants to be when she grows up even a judge” says Makissa Lewis.
This kind of teachable moment that Makissa had during that mentoring session, is what Strong Women, Strong Girls is all about! Researchers strongly recommend that young girls engage in after-school and/or mentoring programs such as Strong Women, Strong Girls to instill prosocial norms such as civic engagement, social conscience, and sense of a female community. Female delinquency is mostly related to the lack of self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect. SWSG works to create environments to decrease the negative behaviors that our girls sometimes display. Promoting the prosocial norms in this supportive environment SWSG creates ultimately helps decrease the rapid growing rate of female delinquents simply by raising ambition and combating those dangers. SWSG also supports our elementary girls’ hope for a bright future, by exposing our girls to college campuses and connecting them with women who attend them.
Within the past mentoring year, SWSG parents reported to have seen a 100% increase in self-esteem in their girls and a 99% increase in the girl’s social- emotional skills. SWSG’s quality mentoring provides 93% of girls now have college and career aspirations and 99% increased their leadership skills during the course of the program. With the strong support SWSG provides for our elementary girls, it is our hope that they will never be labeled a female delinquent.
The Strong Women, Strong Girls organization is a success story for young girls needing a positive light in a dark world. Makissa saw the direct link between programs like Strong Women, Strong Girls and how it impacts the girls to avoid the path of female delinquency. College women like Makissa are helping Strong Women, Strong Girls raise their ambition so that the idea of wanting to be judge is no longer just a dream for young girls but a reality.
For more, click through to Makissa Lewis’ story here
Written by Brittany Obey