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Real Life Skills Make Real Leaders and R.E.A.L GIRLZ

One third of women in Virginia will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Tammie Mobley, a survivor of a domestic violence situation, felt the personal weight of that statistic and wanted to help the next generation of girls so they don’t become the next tragic story or another statistic.

The only question was how?

The answer: Build a community for girls to not only identify red flags in an unhealthy relationship, but also foster a safe space where they can learn the effective communication, conflict resolution and other life skills needed to navigate all the experiences that life brings.

R.E.A.L Girlz, founded by Mobley in 2019, serves three school districts in Virginia (Henrico County, City of Richmond and Fredericksburg), engaging more than 200 girls each year through various mentorship programs, events and leadership opportunities.

“I hope to impact any girl,” Mobley said. “I don’t have a certain demographic, or socioeconomic status, or race; I just want girls to come in and feel welcomed into the R.E.A.L Girlz family.”

Programs

R.E.A.L stands for Responsible, Empowered And Loved. The organization’s mission to instill these characteristics in the girls is felt strongly through every program it offers.

Aiming to provide a safe space for girls of all ages, programs focus on teaching vital life skills and fostering the empowerment to apply them. ​Discussion topics include conflict resolution, social media awareness, leadership and character development, effective communication, diversity awareness, teen dating violence, sexual responsibility and mental health awareness.

The Mentor & Leadership Program is offered for high schoolers. This seven-month program offers its participants public speaking opportunities, CPR certification, college tours and the chance to mentor younger local girls.

The Little Sister Mentoring Program is offered at the second- to fifth-grade level. Those involved in the Mentor & Leadership Program befriend and mentor those in the Little Sister program in a structured environment. Consisting of several events and workshops, this program is a perfect opportunity for young girls to connect with peers, learn new skills and build confidence in a uniquely supportive environment.

The SumHER Experience is offered only during the summer at the seventh- to 10th-grader level and provides activities like weekly field trips, STEM activities and workshops on varying topics like self-empowerment, social emotional development and team building.

Each program is supplemented with various events, panels and celebrations throughout the year.

The Why

In addition to its mission of teaching girls valuable communication and leadership skills, R.E.A.L Girlz provides a safe space for participants to be their authentic selves.

“I’m a very hype, energetic person, so I wanted to have a program where girls can be themselves.” Mobley said. “You don’t have to sit a certain way, talk a certain way – I wanted them to be authentic and for them to still learn in a safe environment.”

R.E.A.L Girlz doesn’t only teach young women effective life skills, but just as important, it creates a uniquely unbreakable community, support system and interpersonal bond.

The passion that the girls harbor for the community fostered by R.E.A.L Girlz does not stop after their involvement. Alumni often come back to attend events and celebrations, act as keynote speakers in panels and even give the high-school-aged girls tours of the colleges they attend.

“The most rewarding part about being involved in R.E.A.L Girlz is the relationship that we build, like a family,” Mobley said. “Everyone calls me Miss Tammie, but the girls in the Mentor & Leadership Program, they call me Miss TamTam. I know sometimes we’re in a leadership position, we want to maintain that title, but I feel like that’s just confirming, ‘we’re in a safe space.’”

To learn more about R.E.A.L Girlz, explore its website here. If you are interested in volunteering, applications can be found here.

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