Arnerich Massena’s I AM Learning Partnership’s Girls’ Club engages in a variety of activities during their weekly meetings like community service fundraising, arts and crafts, and sometimes just straight up girl talk. Every now and then, Girls’ Club entertains visiting speakers, brought in to provide the girls with strong, confident female role models they can look up to and emulate.
On May 1, Girls’ Club had the privilege of hearing guest speaker Pamela Weatherspoon Reed from the Legacy Emanuel Randall Children’s Hospital. The girls were enraptured as Ms. Reed discussed her own life’s ups and downs, how she built her career, and what she does in her job. Most importantly, she described what it’s like to go from a difficult childhood to becoming a successful, happy adult woman.
Her candid discussion of her youth — her father left when she was a baby and fathered 12 other children throughout nine marriages and her young single mother struggled with poverty and alcohol issues — was reassuring to the girls struggling with difficult issues in their own young lives. She told them how lucky she felt to have gone through hard experiences that made her a stronger and more compassionate person.
Ms. Reed is now the community relations coordinator for the Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital. Her enthusiasm was infectious when describing how her work involves advocating for helping her community and engaging with people who all want to help others. She emphasized how important college was to her career, and also talked about the mentors who helped her grow along the way.
The girls had some great questions for their guest, from what is her favorite book (The Color Purple) to does she have boy problems (“if any girl says she hasn’t had boy problems, she’s lying”). Asked what advice she would give to a young woman just starting a career, Ms. Reed told the girls how important it is to build positive relationships, to get involved, and to give back to the community.
It was lovely to watch Pamela Weatherspoon Reed inspire the students in Girls’ Club. Being able to talk with a successful professional who was also relatable was an invaluable experience for the girls. Arnerich Massena would like to extend a huge thank you to Ms. Reed, and also to Kate DeGraw and Marisa Izzard for organizing the talk.