The Future is Female

January 19, 2018

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I am especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”

Oprah’s inspirational speech at the 2018 Golden Globes comes at a crucial time in history when women all over the world are more empowered than ever before. Empowered to speak up, stand up, choose their own paths, forge ahead against so many odds. The list of what women have, will, and can accomplish today goes on and on. This January, we were interested to learn how to support girls & women alike who have the potential to become our future leaders of the world but haven’t been given or blessed with that key structure, those vital opportunities, or the resources and leadership necessary to compete and achieve.

Pearls for Teen Girls, our first ever charity of the month in Milwaukee, makes it their mission to equip young girls with the mentorship, leadership, and confidence to achieve their dreams. They’ve built this organization on the following values: Personal Responsibility, Empathy, Awareness, Respect, Leadership and Support–Or, P.E.A.R.L.S. Among the approximately 1,830 girls they’ve served, 99.7% have avoided teen pregnancy. Among their high school seniors, 95.7% have graduated, and of those, 95.4% were on track for post-secondary success. The statistics supporting their model of female mentorship, team building, and individualized outside-of-school support are unprecedented.

One such “Pearls Girl” as they’re referred to, is Austiana. She began her PEARLS journey when she was 16 as a sophomore in high school. “I joined PEARLS looking for a job but ended up finding a supportive family when I felt like I did not have one and needed it most” she said.

In her second year of college, and never knowing her father, her mother was incarcerated and she was charged with the incredible responsibility of taking care of her four siblings on her own. She credits PEARLS with creating the support system she needed to prepare for adult life and the challenges that come with it. Now 24, she’s graduated from Marquette University with a double major and is planning to take her LSAT next month to become a district attorney — the first in her entire extended family.

“The word that comes to mind when I think of a PEARLS girl, is resilience. ” said Christy Miller, Director of Development.

Likewise, in Chicago, we’ve chosen to support Junior League (JLC), a collective of women helping women. Volunteering, mentoring, and supporting women of all ages with the various challenges we face. In this transformative era where #metoo and #timesup are more than just hashtags, JLC is creating an environment where we can help and empower each other every day. With an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through effective action campaigns and leadership education, JLC prides themselves on activating all women to change their lives and the world.

Junior League of Chicago was founded in 1912 because there was an obvious untapped potential to improve the conditions for the needy in Chicago. Today, 75% of JLC members are under age 35 and donate more than 200,000 volunteer hours each year. From forming the first children’s theater in the country in 1921, to opening the first pediatric AIDS Home in the Midwest in 1991, JLC has established their place in the city’s history. Currently, they’re working hard to make an impact in some of our time’s greatest issues including education, healthy lifestyles, and human trafficking.

So at Flowers for Dreams, we’re celebrating women. While it’s our theme in January, it’s a commitment we make every day and we’re excited to share the amazing missions of these two worthy organizations. For more on our two January charities, visit PEARLS For Teen Girls and Junior League and help us empower women everywhere.

Meet us at the Women’s March on January 20th, in Chicago (at Millennium Park), and Milwaukee (at the County Courthouse), where we’ll be giving out a thousand free mini bouquets to empower and support women.