Speaking of #StrongGirls…


 Image taken by photographer Kate Parker of her daughter as part of her series, Strong Is The New Pretty.

you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

~Winnie the Pooh


Image via Lipstick and Politics


Our mission here is to empower girls by spreading ideas about their own abilities… Their courage, their power, their strength. And it seems we are not the only ones! Along with these personal projects, posts and independent images, my friend and writer, Amy L. Sullivan is hosting a special summer series for girls on her blog, called “Strong Girls Can”. A few posts into it and I can see already that this series will be packed with fun things for girls. So far, Amy has offered up a list of adventures, some advice for teens and tweens on social media, and a photo contest, and she’s asked me to help.


 Image by photographer Andrew Rich, via Getty Images.

Her objective is “to encourage tween and teen girls to think about the attributes which make girls strong. Is it physcial attributes? Knowledge? Loyalty? Skills? Faith? Do strong girls speak with boldness, take risks, ride skateboards, read?”  We will be looking to see if your image captures the spirit of a strong girl? In addition, theme, color, composition, and light will all be factors in determining the winning shot.


Image by photographer Jamie Moore, as part of a personal project titled  Not Just a Girl.

It’s easy to participate and Amy’s friend and photographer offers some photography tips to consider before you begin. Be sure to check them out! And even if you decide to not officially participate, you can help us spread this idea that Girls Can by using the hashtag  #StrongGirlsCan on your images on social media.

o-STRONG-GIRL-facebook Image via Huffington Post.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if you like mascara and lip gloss and pink. It’s what we have inside and what we do, not what we wear, that defines our strength.




Images via adidas, enespanol.com, and kids.nationalgeographic.com.

Good Luck!


BE Strong

#ONEcampain *

 *“This song is part of One’s poverty is sexist campaign, which calls for targeted investments to overcome the barriers that disproportionately affect women, not least in education and health.”  TheGuardian.com




Be the light.







Maya Angelou died today at the age of eighty-six.  She had many titles, but maybe what she did best was making people feel good.  A master poet, author, educator,  actress, activist, and humanitarian, she had much to say on the subject of girls -and women- feeling good about themselves.  I could only wish to live as she lived and leave behind the legacy she has now left.

One thing she said was, “People will often forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  That profound statement causes me to pause and ask myself how am I doing at this?  Do I draw people to me because of the way I make them feel?  I hope so.

In honor of the life she led, here is one of Maya Angelou’s great poems that I believe fits nicely with what we here at Pearls for Girls are trying to do – encourage. Read carefully between the lines here.  I think you’ll find that this “phenomenal woman” exudes confidence!



Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


What To Do, What To Do



It’s that time of year that we have some decisions to make… how to spend our summer, what jobs we hope to work, what colleges to choose, {what majors to declare}… Even for those lucky enough, we need to decide how do we spend our leisure time.

We’ll have some ideas and suggestions here at Pearls for Girls over the next couple of weeks, but for now, we’d like you to sit with this thought.

Do Only What Your Heart Tells You

Princess Diana had it right… She knew that the world needs people who are passionate in what they do, whatEVER that might be… Because when you are passionate about what you do, you tend to do it really, really well.

So think about it.  Share with us in the comments or on Facebook what you decide, in case there are some of us out there who are indecisive. You might inspire someone.

And as for us?  So far?   :)

This summer, we will work side-by-side with a new intern, a graduate student in Public Health who is completing her practicum with us, as she tackles pediatric obesity in the underserved. We will also be conducting a Leadership Workshop and repeating our Confidence Workshops. And lastly, we will be planning a 5K run for the fall… If you live locally, we hope you will join us.

Enjoy your last days of school, bast in the joy of your accomplishments and know that we are proud of you.



courage and resolve; strength of character.
“he displayed the true grit of the navy pilot”
synonyms: courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, spirit, strength of character,
strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude,
toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination,
tenacity,perseverance, endurance; More
 {credit: google}


We seem to put so much pressure on our kids to succeed these days, but I often wonder if we really know what success is. And I suppose, in the end, it depends on our individual values. Is success a grade? Is it growth and improvement in a given area? Is it the development of a certain set of skills? Is it demonstration of personality traits like kindness, flexibility, patience?

Maybe the more important thing is how we teach our children to find success, and the qualities that we instill in them as we nurture them into adulthood.

There’s been some conversation in the media lately about “grit” and it’s correlation to success, particularly as it relates to children and education. It’s one of the qualities of what are being called “21st Centry Skills”[1], or character attributes that many teachers, policy makers and reformers are embracing and supporting being taught in school. They include traits like perserverence, initiative, optimism, collaboration, flexibility and leading by influence. Angela Lee Duckworth, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, studies how intangible concepts like self-control (“the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the service of valued goals” [2]) and grit (“perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals” [2] ) can predict future academic and professional success.

Her current research shows that the personal, or non-cognitive, traits of self-control and grit are better predictors of success than IQ, and are at least as important as cognitive abilities in success[3].

credit: Angela Lee Duckworth

Wait. What?

Yes. Kids {and adults} who are grittier – who are tenacious, who stick to it – tend to be more successful than those with high IQ’s.

So how can we teach our girls to be, um, grittier?


Well, truthfully, we don’t know for sure. Dr. Duckworth and her colleagues are working on that. But in the meantime, suggestions by others have been made:

  1.  Set challenging goals and have high expectations.[4] If she achieves things easily, she will never learn how to work hard for something.
  2. Give positive feedback and praise for hard work, not just for achievement. [4]
  3. Don’t accept sub-standard work. [4] Instead, encourage her to re-do her work until it is excellent.
  4. Allow her to struggle as she works before you jump in to help or offer hints, so that she gets comfortable with this feeling.[5]
  5. Allow failure, but use it as a learning tool. Help your child find her mistake, and how to fix that mistake, to change her outcome.
  6. Don’t allow her to quit when things get hard.
  7. Teach her how to respond appropriately to feelings of frustration and failure. [5]
  8. Allow her time and encourage her to practice the skills you teach her. [4] By practicing them, she learns that she can improve with effort.
  9. Don’t tell her to “Just do your best”. Instead, tell her she will “go beyond {her} best”. [4]
  10. Talk to her about working hard for what she wants.[4]
  11. Discuss how grit was important in the success of others, like Steve Jobs. [5]
  12. Talk to her about her goals. [4]
  13. Avoid praising her for being “smart”. Rather, praise her for her efforts by saying things like “you must have worked really hard to get that grade.” [5]


Criticism for Grit in Education


Some say that the focus on grit by educators is just the latest fad and will subside, just as other fads in education have.  Alfie Kohn, an education writer, states, “…the benefits of failure are are vastly overstated, and the assumption that kids will pick themselves up and try even harder” is wishful thinking. He also feels that the focus on grit distracts educators from the real job of correcting the curricular and pedagogical problems in schools. [5]

Others criticize grading kids on grit, and calling grit a “virtue”. Education professor Joan Goodman of the University of Pennsylvania states that the language is important because we don’t want children to think that if they are gritty, they are good and if they are not gritty, they are bad. She adds that grit might not be a trait, but a by-product of other traits like confidence, courage, and curiosity. She also notes that kids might be gritty in some areas, but not in others.  [5]

“I don’t think people can become truly gritty and great at things they don’t love. So when we try to develop grit in kids, we also need to find and help them cultivate their passions. That’s as much a part of the equation here as the hard work and the persistence.”

~Angela Lee Duckworth. [5]

{My Thoughts}

Teaching a child how to have a good work-ethic can never be bad, and teaching them to be persistent in their endeavors will obviously bring them closer to success. I’m not sure grit needs to be a formal subject that is graded and taught in schools, but I do think that our schools can support the idea of grit and encourage it, like they encourage other ideals like timeliness and responsibility. We, as parents, can help by using the above suggestions at home to teach our children things like persistence, resilience, and how to turn failure into success.



1. Shapiro, Jordan.  “Grit, Optimism And Other Buzzwords In The Way Of Education.” Forbes. 10/14/2013. www.forbes.com
2. Duckworth, Angela. Research synopsis, University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology.
3. Perkins-Gough.  “The Significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth.” ASCD.  Sept 2013.  www.ascd.org
4. Allison, Shaun (?). “Being Gritty About Getting Our Kids Grittier.” 11/16/2013. www.classteaching.wordpress.com
5. Smith, Tovia. “Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?” NPR. 3/17/2014. www.npr.org


Spring Forward! {Whew, Finally!}

I have never been happier to see you, Spring! I’m sure most of the country would agree.  It has been a very. long. winter.  Our first polar vortex in many years was only just the beginning.  If you choose to be a glass half-full kind of girl, then you probably thoroughly enjoyed the lazy days of watching movies, eating chili or other comfort food, and taking time away from work or school.  Those definitely were some of the highlights I would say!  If you call yourself a glass half-empty kind of girl, then you probably will not miss the layers and layers you wore only to find yourself still freezing, dry skin, and the extra few pounds you might’ve found whilst enjoying all that comfort food!

Long winters make for sweeter Springs! If it weren’t for one, we wouldn’t appreciate the other, right? Nonetheless, the season is  a-changing, and we’ve got an extra hour of glorious daylight (woo hoo!) on our hands.  I for one really enjoy the extra daylight in the evening.  The question is what should we do with it?

I heard the other day that spray painting mason jars is a somewhat new and fun DIY activity. It’s fairly inexpensive and looks to be super easy.  I think these jars would make adorable spring flower vases, but the smaller jars could be used for things like yogurt parfaits or brownie sundaes.  I like them for organizational ideas too.  You could store things like make-up brushes or pens and pencils in them.   Maybe our resident intern, Taylor will help us  with a step by step tutorial soon.   For now, here is a great picture of a finished product to inspire your DIY juices to begin flowing.


Hey, I know.  How about going and picking out seeds of your favorite flowers, herbs or vegetables (cherry tomato for me, please) and planting them.  Start indoors until they germinate, and then transfer the little sprout to a larger pot or bed afterwards.  You can enjoy looking at your flowers or consuming your veggie all summer long and maybe even have enough to share.

 Cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine

The goal is to come out of hibernation.  I’m trying to get myself {and you} to see that I no longer have to feel limited by cold weather or early darkness.  It’s time.  It’s time to go walk some trails, to throw frisbee with some friends, to enjoy an evening fire, to drink lemonade,  to have a picnic if only on your back porch.  It’s time to turn off the TV and GO outside.

Spring really puts a “spring” in your step doesn’t it?  Oh, I know we’ll still have our fair share of cold snaps until long about May, but that’s okay, because it only makes the nice days nicer!

Happy Spring! Have fun!




 Somedays we forget

To look around us

Somedays we can’t see

The joy that surrounds us

So caught up inside ourselves

We take when we should give.


So for tonight we pray for

What we know can be.

And on this day we hope for

What we still can’t see.

It’s up to us to be the change

And even though we all can still do more

There’s so much to be thankful for.


Look beyond ourselves

There’s so much sorrow

It’s way too late to say

I’ll cry tomorrow

Each of us must find our truth

It’s so long overdue


So for tonight we pray for

What we know can be

And every day we hope for

What we still can’t see

It’s up to us to be the change

And even though we all can still do more

There’s so much to be thankful for.


Even with our differences

There is a place we’re all connected

Each of us can find each other’s light


So for tonight we pray for

What we know can be

And on this day we hope for

What we still can’t see

It’s up to us to be the change

And even though this world needs so much more


{There’s so much to be thankful for}

~ lyrics by, Josh Groban

PFG is thankful for all of you.
We want to know what are you {thankful} for this season.

 Images : by Google Images


Be of Service to Others


Be of Service to Others

Finding and committing the time to be of sevice to others has huge benefits to self-esteem, family, and to the community.  Volunteering in the community, clubs at school, and programs through the church can provide a healthy boost of self confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

Be of Service to OthersBut, the giving goes both ways. Research confirms that teens who learn early to be social, caring, and responsible perform better in school. Volunteering improves their chances of graduating at the top of their class, armed with critical leadership skills. Studies show that teens who volunteer just two hours per week have higher self-esteem and more resiliency and are 50 percent less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs

Be of Service to OthersSelf-esteem is a measure of a young person’s judgment of his own worth and it is built generally in one way — through positive experiences. One of the best paths to positive developmental experiences for youths is through helping others with peers. Volunteerism promotes a sense of empowerment and connection to the community.  It provides a natural sense of accomplishment.  All you need is {passion}.

Be of Service to OthersBeing of service to others can give teens a sense of pride, identity developement (defining self and purpose), motivate good choices, build positivity, instill work ethic and responsibility, and build confidence in leadership skills. It makes teens feel good about themselves.

Be of Service to Others

Be of Service to Others

Important skills for a future career can be learnt through volunteering, as well as learning to set goals.  Learning to have compassion for others comes with it, along with gaining a great support of lifelong relationships.

Be of Service to Others

Tips for Getting Started Volunteering

First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do.

For example, do I want…
…to make it better around where I live
…to meet people who are different from me
…to try something new
…to do something with my spare time
…to see a different way of life and new places
…to have a go at the type of work I might want to do as a full-time job
…to do more with my interests and hobbies
…to do something I’m good at

The best way to volunteer is to match your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.

Source: World Volunteer Web

Be of Service to Others

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs. The following questions can help you narrow your options:

  • Would you like to work with people or would you rather work in solitude?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • How much responsibility are you ready to take on?
  • What skills can you bring a volunteer job?
  • What causes are important to you?

Be of Service to Others

Where do I find volunteer opportunities?

  • Community theaters, museums, and monuments
  • Libraries or senior centers/retirement centers
  • Service organizations such as Lions club, Rotary clubs,  and Food on Foot
  • Youth organizations, sports teams, and after-school programs
  • Historical restorations and national parks
  • Places of worship, such as churches
  • Summer camps and programs
  • Areas of future career choice, ie. hospitals or animal shelters
  • Peer tutoring
  • Participating in community 5k’s
  • Donating new or used clothes to local organizations

Be of Service to Others

Volunteering with a parent or whole family is also a great way to build a positve bond while helping others.  Whether it’s stuffing backpacks full of school supplies, camping out together all night at the local Relay for Life, paticipating in a race for an important charity, serving food together at a local soup kitchen, or helping out a sick or elderly neighbor with chores or yardwork…you are creating a lifetime of happiness.

Be of Service to Others


your self-esteem will thank you!




Sources: ABC news, Dr.Carol.org, helpguide.org

 Images by: Deacon McMillan and Bobbie Odom

{ 1 comment }