By Keishonda Sherman/reporter
As part of Women’s History Month, a leader from the nonprofit organization Girls, Inc. spoke to students on TR Campus about the power women have to love themselves and why it matters.
In her role as senior director of Girls, Inc. of Tarrant County, Rachel Haugabook works to help women overcome difficult circumstances.
Haugabook said being a woman is more than nurturing and attending to the needs of others. Womanhood requires high levels of self-love and worth before any other task.
“If you know anything about women, it’s that we are always offering ourselves out, but we do not often allow people to give to us, to heal us, to bless us.”
Haugabook spoke on her social experiences growing up with girls and that at times she felt uninvited and unloved from her peers.
“We are intentionally designed with the heart to love,” she said. “We rise to the occasion.”
Haugabook said her mother’s role in her life was one of resilience and constant reassurance of self-love that helped her through adolescence.
“Girls must love themselves from within,” she said. “The right people won’t miss out on you. We must create our own fun instead of trying to coexist with people who don’t have the same mindset.”
From a young age, Girls Inc. teaches girls that they are precious and that they have to fully love who they are, instead of striving to be someone else, Haugabook said.
Girls, Inc. offers programming that provides girls with skills to become strong and confident in who they are. Some programs are designed to help women understand body image and healthy sexuality. Other programs give them skills in financial literacy, media literacy, leadership, mentoring relationships and community action.
One of the programs, Operation Smart, focuses on developing knowledge and skills in STEM and allows girls to think outside their comfort zone.
“We have these great little robots that roll around that teach girls how to code,” Haugabook said. “[STEM] is being utilized in so many different dynamics. There is a place in the world for you if you’re interested in doing those things.”
Project Bold is a program that teaches girls how to defend themselves mentally, physically and emotionally.
“We don’t teach fear in Project Bold. We facilitate awareness,” Haugabook said.
She spoke of the beauty of self-discovery and finding strength in tragedy.
“You are victorious not because of the things gone right but because of all the things gone wrong,” Haugabook said. “You must remember who you are and how to treat yourself.”