The Dream Girls Club, an off-shoot mentorship programme of the charity Phenomenal People, is taking on the singular mission of showing young Bermudian women what it means, and what it takes, to succeed. Leading that charge is Margaret Rose-Giloth, the indefatigable founder of Phenomenal People and life-long champion of female empowerment.
“Dream Girls Club evolved out of the desire to help our young girls start to claim their place at life’s banquet table; to state what types of careers they want so that we can start them on the pathway to achievement at an early age,” Rose-Giloth told The Bermudian.
Founded in 2006 after Rose-Giloth returned to Bermuda from California, where she first began her public-outreach work, Phenomenal People is dedicated to helping “adult women confront emotional and spiritual challenges” by providing a structured path toward healing from the effects of unhealthy relationships. “Along with this support group,” Rose-Giloth explained, “we facilitated developmental activities to further empower women through financial workshops, trust planning, a book club, volunteering with seniors, and generally discovering the beauty they possess inside.”
By 2008, that purview was extended to young women in the form of the Dream Girls Club, a book club headed by Rose-Giloth and head librarian at the Youth Library, Marla Smith. Beginning with a group of eight young women between the ages of eight and thirteen, the programme now has an enrolment of 40, with 20 to 25 young women attending on a regular basis, free of charge, thanks to generous donations from the public.
“Recognising how dynamic life is for youngsters at a really early age, due in large part to technology and the global platform, I realised that age nine is not too early to start building the foundation for success in our youth,” said Rose-Giloth. “I’m very intentional about this, because waiting until they are 15 is far too late.”
“Each year our girls go on a field trip to the Bermuda College so that they can experience, see, taste and feel what college life will be like in years to come. A mom asked me why I take them so early. My response was that it’s never too early to start to influence their thoughts about pursuing higher education.”
The programme is founded upon the common sense principal that young people, regardless of gender, are far more likely to succeed when offered support and empowerment, understand their boundaries and expectations, are taught how to make constructive use of their time, and a host of other factors that are increasingly less available at the family and community level.
“Young people who have a high number of these important building blocks to healthy development stand a good chance of making wise decisions about their lives, rising above peer pressure to resist negative influences, and are more likely to go on to enjoy meaningful lives as productive adults. This is where I’m focusing my attention with the young people in my circle of influence.
“I don’t believe there’s any one factor that can derail a young person’s hopes and dreams; I’ve seen people from the worst type of background imaginable rise above their circumstances and soar, mostly because they had someone who truly believed in them and helped them to see their worth, their potential, and their enormous opportunities.”