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The 2016-17 Strong Girls Serve group stands in front of their Little Free Pantry community service project outside of Athens Area Emergency Food Bank. PHOTO BY KIM TURNER

At the kick-off for Strong Girls Serve in 2016, the girls and their UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences ambassadors proudly shared their mission statement for the year. PHOTO BY KIM TURNER

Many middle school members of Strong Girls Serve have received awards and recognition at school for the fundraising and volunteer work they have done. In this way, members of the service group have set a positive example for their peers, which is one of the goals of Strong Girls Serve. Greb and Turner strive to incorporate elements of leadership into the group, while also teaching their strong girls how to work as a team. This year, Strong Girls Serve is teaming up with Project Safe, a local non-profit agency that is working to end domestic violence by providing support to victims and prevention programs to the community.The girls are volunteering at the Project Safe Thrift Store, and they will be giving presentations on healthy relationships to their peers. Maya Clement and Delaney June Brewer, two members of Strong Girls Serve, will also be participating in Project Safe’s annual event, Dancing with the Athens Stars.At this event, teams of dancers perform and compete to raise the most money for Project Safe.This will be the agency’s first year hosting a youth edition. Clement said,“I’m really excited. I’ve never done anything like this before, and this is the first time any kid has done this.” In all of their volunteer work for Project Safe and the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank, the members of Strong Girls Serve reflect a true passion for serving the Athens community.Through this service group, girls are learning how to give without expecting anything in return. Each month, they give their time to volunteer, while also putting their

energy into fundraising and other projects. “It’s important to reach out to those who are in bad situations and support them. Service means helping other people in your community without asking for anything in return because it’s the right thing to do,” Natalie Schliekelman, a Strong Girls Serve member, said. Currently, Strong Girls Serve is only open to middle school girls who apply to be a part of the group. However, Greb and Turner are looking forward to expanding the service group to elementary school girls in the future. They are enthusiastic about teaching girls of all school ages about how to kindheartedly serve their community. Strong Girls Serve is a fantastic example of how small acts of service can make a large difference in the community. Even at a young age, members of Strong Girls Serve are bringing about positive change.As they continue to devote their time and energy to lifting other people up, these girls are sure to leave their mark on local non-profit agencies and the Athens community as a whole. n  Jessica Leistikow has been volunteering and interning with Strong Girls since May 2016. She is a senior majoring in Psychology with a Human Development and Family Science minor at the University of Georgia. Strong Girls’ mission to empower girls to be confident and courageous in how they love themselves and others is absolutely inspiring to her. As an aspiring professional counselor, she loves that Strong Girls not only equips girls with physical strength, but also emotional strength. She believes that the Strong Girls community is powerful because strong girls truly can change the world. www.athensparent.com 25

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Athens Parent February 2018  

Athens Parent February 2018  

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