Man, this is a good idea!
Some women friends donate $200 a piece through their women’s giving circle. Once a year they select a cause to support with those funds. In this case, it’s the SMART Girls program at the Boys and Girls Clubs. Then they celebrate by getting together to shop at a friendly upscale store that agrees to donate 15 percent of the day’s proceeds to the cause. And they drink wine.
Pretty sweet plan, huh?
I joined this convivial group at Gift, Gourmet & Interiors last week. I also joined the women’s giving circle. We looked at beautiful jewelry and home decor items, drank a glass or two of wine or champagne, had some laughs and were home in time for dinner.
Members of the group call themselves Purses with Purpose. (They have one honorary male member: Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin.) They are only a year old and have 40 members. With last week’s gathering, they hoped to add another 30. Do the math. This money adds up quickly.
The program they are supporting, SMART Girls, stands for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training. It teaches girls aged 8 to 17 about the physical and emotional developments they can expect to experience during adolescence and how to make smart decisions. It also teaches them how to take care of themselves with basic cooking skills and physcial fitness habits.
On their own, the girls in this year’s program, which meets once a week, have decided to start a book club. They are reading the book, “Push” by Sapphire, on which the movie “Precious” is based.
“We all need to make a difference in the lives of young girls,” said UT Women’s Athletic Director Joan Cronan, who spoke briefly to the group.
Betty Gill, of Boys and Girls Clubs, agreed, quoting the motto of Purses with Purpose: “The purpose of a life is a life with purpose.”
Here are few concerning statistics:
- Studies show that while girls and boys both experience a decrease in self-esteem during junior high and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops more over time.
- The average age when girls develop eating disorders has dropped. It used to be between the ages of 13 and 17. Today it is between the ages of 9 and 12.
- By age 14, girls are twice as likely as boys are to suffer from depression.
- Each year, 38 percent of date rapes are reported by girls between the ages of 14 and 17.
- Although the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is declining, it continues to be the highest in the Western industrialized world.
These stats are from the Boys and Girls Clubs. I hope the SMART Girls program has an impact here in East Tennessee. For more information about Purses with Purpose or SMART Girls, contact Amanda Brummerstedt, director of annual giving at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley, at (865) 248-1105 or at [email protected]