Smart (and kind and generally amazing) girls
Photo: The lovely Sameen and her beautiful sister, Nazish
I’ll admit it: I’ve never been one of those “I get along much better with boys” kinds of girls. Perhaps it’s because my mom tasked me, early on, with finding the sisters I wasn’t biologically blessed with; maybe it’s because, growing up, I was lucky enough to find a group of girlfriends that I knew would be there to back me up– or keep me from backing down.
These days, I still treasure the incredible friends–still mostly ladies–who keep me connected to the places and principles that have helped defined all of us. They have become artists and advocates; mountain-movers and life-savers. I am not ashamed to admit that I proudly coast on their efforts and accomplishments, and I work hard to resist gushing– to acquaintances and random strangers–over all of the steps they are taking to make the world a better place.
But sometimes– even without my help, apparently 🙂 — the world takes notice. When my friend Sameen, director of programs for the Denver-based Smart Girl– a non-profit “prevention and enrichment program designed to engage girls in activities that develop their social-emotional skills”– mentioned (casually and modestly, in total Sameen style) that she’d been asked to do an interview with NPR about the group’s presence and impact in local middle schools a few weeks ago, I couldn’t have been more thrilled– or more proud. And while I listened to her speaking earnestly and eloquently about all of the ways in which Smart Girl benefits its young participants–greater confidence, self respect, compassion and empathy for others– I couldn’t help but recognize that the qualities that she hopes to help instill in the young people she works with are the very same gifts that her friendship has given me.
I know that the world isn’t always a friendly place, and that I-messages and hugs aren’t fix-alls. But Sameen’s belief in potential–of kids, and me, and humanity in general–gives me hope that, eventually, there will be a whole lot less to fix.
To listen to Sameen’s interview on NPR (yaaaaay!), go here: http://www.cpr.org/category/colorado_matters#load_article|Smart_Girl
For more information about Smart Girl, please visit http://www.smart-girl.org/