Here’s What It Looks Like When A Company Actually Invests In Helping Girls Succeed

'To dreaming big, being bold and reaching your destiny.'

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

When you get an email from Teavana (owned by Starbucks) about mentoring a group of young girls from Girls Inc. there’s only one thing you can do: say yes.

Right before the 4th of July holiday Her Agenda received a note about coming to the launch of a major partnership announcement between Teavana and Girls Inc. However, the launch event wasn’t a typical press conference. Instead, they hosted an intimate speed mentoring session with a select group of local Girls Inc. girls along with executives from Teavana and Starbucks.

Naturally, since girls who are strong, smart and bold, (which is Girls Inc.’s tag line) grow up to become women who never let anyone or anything slow their agenda, I accepted the invitation. So on July 7th, I joined Girls Inc. and Teavana for this announcement and the chance to speak to the next generation of women leaders.

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

“One day you have the potential to come back and work for Starbucks, and gain access to healthcare and ownership through Bean Stock,” explained Annie Young-Scrivner, president, Teavana to the group of young women chosen to attend the event. The great thing is this statement isn’t just words, or fluff. It’s actually part of the long-term plan for the partnership between Girls Inc. and Teavana.

The $100,000 investment will support young women between the ages of 14-17 with their major transitions from high school to college to career. Education will be offered in the form of summer camps, workshops, community service and training opportunities. They’ll support the girls along the way through and ecosystem of mentors, peers and an engaged community.

“We really believe and know that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” explained Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Girls Inc. at the start of the mentoring session.”

According to their website, Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, providing more than 140,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges girls face. Girls Inc. supports diverse young women ages 6 – 18 and provides tailored support for these young women of underserved communities.

A prime example of the success of their programming comes through the story of Belle, an alumnae who spoke to the group before the mentoring started. A recent graduate of the Urban Assembly Institute for Math and Science she’s heading to Lafayette College this fall. But her journey didn’t come without hardship. She lost her father as she was transitioning from junior high school into high school and it severely impacted her spirit and drive. This is where she says Girls Inc. helped her to pull through.

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

Teavana & Girls Inc. event in New York, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for Teavana)

“I was bubbly and vibrant, and I didn’t think I would ever be the same again [after my father passed],” explained Belle. “I have to thank Girls Inc. for them coming up to me and asking me ‘why am I being so quiet.’ I wouldn’t have found myself [again] without them. I want to thank Girls Inc. for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”

During the speed mentoring, I had the chance to meet a small group of the girls currently part of Girls Inc. during the speed mentoring session. The girls I spoke with were entering high school, and each of them was incredibly open and full of vision and excitement about what they planned to do in the next phase of their life.

“Anyone who has been a success has had people and programs and experiences in our lives that believed in them. That showed them what was possible,” explained Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, Girls Inc. at the start of the mentoring session. “That’s what Teavana is doing for us. They’re investing in your education. We all need to have role models and mentors and experiences that expand our horizons.”

In a time where diversity and investing in women and girls is so crucial it’s truly refreshing to see a major corporation like Teavana truly investing in our future leaders, instead of just talking about it.

“To dreaming big, being bold and reaching your destiny,” Young-Scrivner who traveled from Seattle for this announcement enthusiastically declared during a tea toast at the end of the session.

Rhonesha Byng

About Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha is the founder of HerAgenda.com. She resides in New York City and works as a journalist and an entrepreneur.
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