‘Girls find their voice, acknowledge their talent and soar’
the teen mentor
Jane Kenyon, 54, is an entrepreneur and the founder of GirlsOutLoud.org.uk, a social enterprise helping young girls from ordinary backgrounds reach their full potential. She lives in Knutsford, Cheshire, with husband Tony.
It’s been my mission to make a difference since 2009, when I was asked to create and deliver an intervention programme designed to help troubled teenagers in blackpool. these girls had serious behavioural issues, were on the point of exclusion from education, had no aspirations and zero self-esteem. yet the impact of having an adult believe in them, who they could talk to, was huge.
a year later I set up Girls out loud with the aim of motivating and inspiring young girls. Working with schools, I learned that, while a lot of attention is given to the gifted and talented, and the troubled or badly behaved, but it’s actually the 65% in the middle who get little support, and who struggle to achieve their potential.
society’s pressures on these girls are immense and negative. they think their worth lies only in their appearance, material goods and the number of likes they have on social media. Depression, eating disorders and self-harm are rife.
My mentoring programme matches girls in years 8-10 with a female role model who, for a year, becomes their big sister. through monthly meetings and regular events, they establish a real and meaningful rapport. there are so many uplifting stories, where girls find their voice, acknowledge their talents and soar.
the more you help, the more you want to do. so on the week before Christmas, tony, my niece Holly and I will be outside a stranger’s front door laden with bags full of table decorations, food, wrapping paper, gifts and crackers, to help families who can’t have a proper Christmas through circumstances such as redundancy or ill health. >>