Kendall spent her summer interning at Girls Inc. of Long Island via the Jaggar Community Fellows Program at Adelphi University. On the last day, we received this heartfelt email outlining her experience:
Thank you so much for making this summer internship an amazing experience for me. I am extremely grateful that I was placed at this non-profit organization and have had the pleasure of being surrounded by such empowering women. I am so inspired by each woman at Girls Inc. of Long Island and how hard they work to bring outstanding resources, programming, opportunities, and experiences, to so many girls on Long Island.
I never had a day go by without learning a new skill, smiling, and feeling welcomed there which alone has meant the world to me. I can definitely say that if I had Girls Inc. in my life when I was growing up, it would have made my thought processes, decision making, and self-esteem much better than it was (especially during those brutal middle school years that are kind to no one). Even though I didn’t experience Girls Inc. during my adolescent years, I have been positively impacted and inspired experiencing Girls Inc. as a young woman. As we all know, feelings of insecurity and perhaps incapability does not disappear with age. Spending my summer inspiring girls to be Strong, Smart, and Bold has taught me that I am all of those things as well.
There have been so many experiences in my life that have made me feel incapable, or inadequate. As crazy and meticulous as it may sound, every goal in Girl Inc.’s mission has touched me in some way. To name one, one of the Girls Inc.’s goals is to help girls feel confident in pursuing male dominated STEM fields. This piece of your mission hits home for me because I dreamed of being an astronaut, archaeologist, phlebotomist, nurse, and a biologist throughout most of my life until recent years. You name it, anything science I probably contemplated wanting to be it someday. I had a niche for biology and human anatomy in high school and I was so passionate about it. Until, others made me think I was not smart enough or did not believe in me and support my goals. Even though I worked hard and had perfect scores on my Biology exams, I still endured criticisms and was ridiculed by my peers as being unintelligent. I was very upset by this and only dreamed of having something like Girls Inc. “in my corner”. But instead, I accepted that maybe pursuing science wasn’t meant to be. At times I still wonder “Was I judged because I’m a girl?”, “If I was more bold, could I have been where I wanted to be?” Despite enduring these challenges in my many desires to pursue science, I am currently happily following my heart studying Psychology, a social science, at Adelphi University. I am on track to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree this upcoming May 2020, and intend on acquiring a master’s degree in Art Therapy.
This is why I am so grateful that Girls Inc. exists and I have been able to be a part of it. I know I am definitely not the only girl out there who has experienced being unsupported or labeled by gender stereotypes. The work that Girls Inc. of Long Island does is extremely important to society and is the best support system for girls that everyone should hear about. None of their hard work has not gone by unnoticed, even by an intern. As a psychology student, I aspire to help others just as they do and they have been outstanding role models for me to look up to in pursuing my future in a helping profession. Unfortunately, I’m sure they have had interns come and go without letting them know how much Girls Inc. has impacted them or without getting a thank you. That’s not how I respond to my experiences, so from the bottom of my heart, I want Girls Inc. of Long Island to know my gratitude, support, and joy in being in a chapter of the beautiful story of Girls Inc. of Long Island.