Happy AmeriCorps Week!  Strong Women, Strong Girls of South Florida is celebrating the “My AmeriCorps Story!” theme during this year’s recognition of AmeriCorps’ impact on our communities.
During the Strong Women, Strong Girls South Florida Mentor Training two weeks ago, we explored the subject of Sharing our Story by inviting Alicia Zuckerman, Senior Producer of radio programs like Under the Sun, which shares South Florida stories on our local NPR Station.   She explained her passion for gathering and telling stories by telling her story about becoming a radio journalist.  Alicia explained that it changes people’s lives to be able to share a powerful, personal story.
South Florida Mentors were surprised to learn that Alicia was motivated  to become a professional “story teller” simply because she enjoyed listening other people tell personal stories: as Alicia admitted, “I just love to eavesdrop in restaurants and on the street!”  This passion gave her the perseverance to overcome challenges, like difficulty taking standardized tests for graduate school.  More importantly, she shared that giving people an outlet to share stories has helped others feel more connection to their community and more capable of leading healthy, happy lives.  For example, after talking with a woman who overcame drug addiction, Alicia learned that she helped that woman give voice to a group of people who aren’t often listened to by the media, and she found that the woman’s powerful story made her radio listeners understand the woman’s situation in a new way.
As individuals and as a group, Strong Women Mentors have the power to tell the stories—our own and the ones that we hear from girls—to bring about positive change in girls’ lives.  Watch the video of FIU AmeriCorps Member and Mentor Erica sharing her most powerful experience mentoring and how being a mentor helped girls communicate and be heard!
Throughout the summer, Strong Women Mentors and AmeriCorps Members are going to help girls to tell their own stories through service projects to help girls combat bullying.   Girls across South Florida have told their mentors that bullying is a real problem in their schools.  According to the Miami Herald,bullying is underreported and has made school a scary place for some children.  To respond to the problems Strong Girls have shared, mentors in South Florida are going to ask adults and children alike to share their own stories and ideas for combating bullying and incorporate all of the positive solutions into an empowering message quilt to be displayed where Strong Girls can read it every day.

Thanks for listening!