Pittsburgh Strong Girls Profile: Takara and Tacia
Posted by Kimmi Baston Jan 1, 2018
“Why are you playing basketball? You’re a girl.”
“Why are you wearing joggers? You’re not a boy.”
“Why are you playing Minecraft? You must be a tomboy!”
These are the questions that twins Takara and Tacia Pack face in their fifth-grade class at Pittsburgh Faison, a local public school. The questions don’t bother them – they know that girls don’t have to play with dolls and wear dresses. They can join the basketball team if they want. And they’re quick to explain this to other kids, because they know how important it is to speak up.
After participating in the Strong Women, Strong Girls after-school program for three years, they’ve both learned to be courageous, thanks to the college women who mentor them each week. It’s hard for Takara and Tacia to choose their favorite SWSG activity. They love it all: field trips to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), dance parties at the end of their weekly session, conducting science experiments, reading about strong women. But the best part, both girls agree, is seeing their mentors.
“They’re nice, they’re funny, they’re smart, and also they’re very active!” Tacia says. “One thing I’ve learned from them is self-empowerment – it means caring about yourself and being aware of others around you.”
Monica Rogers, the girls’ mother, says her daughters are more confident thanks to the influence of their mentors. “After a year in the program, the girls weren’t afraid to show you who they are,” Monica says. “The mentors show them: ‘hey it’s okay to be myself.’”
Takara and Tacia’s experiences in the SWSG program have inspired big dreams. Both ran for student government this year, and they’re already considering their college choices.
“We want to go to Carnegie Mellon now – we didn’t know we wanted to, but after visiting CMU with SWSG, we want to experience that,” Takara says.
Following college, Takara and Tacia are considering careers as scientists or writers or chefs – or even serving as U.S. President. With the support of a strong mentor in their lives, they know anything is possible.