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We all have spunk: Why Rachel chooses to make an impact through SWSG

Posted by Sarah Kacevich Dec 12, 2014 , , , ,

This week, we are happy to feature a reflection from Rachel Chamberlain, part of our story series “I Matter, I Hope, I Impact.”  Rachel shares three thoughts after three years of involvement with Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) in Boston.

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and for the third year in a row I am thankful for the partnership between Strong Women, Strong Girls and my employer, Natixis Global Asset Management. Natixis has a strong culture of corporate philanthropy that encourages employee engagement with its charity partners. As a result, I was introduced to SWSG in early 2011. The rest is history!

Rachel (center, green dress) gathers with colleagues from Natixis Global Asset Management and Marynee Pontes, keynote speaker and college mentor, at SWSG's 10th Anniversary Gala in June 2014.

Rachel (center, green dress) gathers with colleagues from Natixis Global Asset Management and Marynee Pontes, keynote speaker and college mentor, at SWSG’s 10th Anniversary Gala in June 2014.

Since that time I have been played many roles:  mentor, event planner, training facilitator, jump rope organizer and everything in between. No matter the nature of my involvement on a given day, I am constantly inspired by the people I meet and the impact they are having on tomorrow’s women.

As we look forward to 2015, here are three SWSG reflections I’d like to share with you:

Don’t talk yourself out of doing the little things. Every year we get busier and I anticipate next year will not be any different. I know I always have moments where I think, “Do I really have the time today?” or “Do I have enough to make a donation?” The answer needs to be yes, because the impact of our time and resources is so important. I spoke with a woman this year who has been through the program as a young girl and is now a college mentor.  I asked her what she remembers most, and she told me it was a college field trip. Ten years later she could still describe in detail her thoughts and emotions from that day, and points to it as the moment in time where she knew she could go to college. The field trips matter. The mentoring matters. Your time and resources matter. Keep giving everything you are able.

The SWSG college women are nothing short of heroic. I don’t know how they do it. They ace their history exams, sprint to the MBTA in the pouring rain to get to the elementary school sites, teach third graders yoga, and then wait for parents to pick the girls up. EVERY WEEK. I am constantly amazed by their leadership abilities and knack for multi-tasking. From a corporate perspective, it’s clear they will have an edge in their professional careers. A shout out to my Boston College senior mentee Katie Ronan, who recently accepted her first job offer.

  1. Rachel channels her inner spunk as a third grader.

    Rachel channels her inner spunk as a third grader.

We all have spunk. Every time I watch the elementary school girls interact with the college women, I am amazed at their energy. They have fearless imaginations, bold spirits, and astonishing intelligence. After attending a field trip last spring, I went home and found a picture of me from third grade. I thought, “Was I like that?” Looks like it (check out my photo!). And then I was reminded, I am like that — and it’s a good thing to let it out. Go ahead, let your inner spunk shine in 2015!

Happy holidays. Whatever your involvement with SWSG may be, THANK YOU for your contributions to this important work and I hope to see you in the coming year.

$30 gives college mentors the tools needed to be role models.