Dear Donor and Sand Sister Family,
Building Sand Sisters into what it is today has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. Last year, when I left my full time job to push myself to grow into the woman I wanted to become was a huge shift in my energy and life. The year has not been easy. We are constantly thrown new bullets we have to dodge and lessons to learn from. I am glad they are coming early in the stages of growth, but they still hurt our human experience.
The growth we have seen over 2019 has been huge. We have grown our network, built our board and partnered with national brands. We opened up Missouri with our Girl Powerful workshops providing 6 workshops in 3 days. Why Missouri? Because it is where we grew up. We spend every day in after school programs and we are on a mission to make after school hours more engaging and meaningful. Missouri's rural areas were like nothing I have ever seen. They are extreme food deserts and the kids were unhealthy and dirty. Along with our self-love curriculum we brought in grapes, oranges, and popcorn. The girls were acting as if the fruit was gold, bringing ziplocks up to us asking if they could have some for later. They do not have access to fruit. It was eye opening and heartbreaking at the same time. I left feeling like I needed to do more although I know I am only one person.
We just returned from Texas where we worked with 50 girls that are severely over-looked. Walking into this high school was very intimidating. These girls weren't girls anymore. Life had happened to them. While creating "I am" affirmation statements they chose words that were like no other group we had encountered. Words like survivor, alive, and hopeful. It's making me tear up right now writing this. In two hours the girls had let down their guard, shared their goals for the school year and outside of school like having to join the army because it is her only choice if she wants to leave her neighborhood. One girl who at the beginning was saying, "Do we have to do this? leaned over to a friend and said, "I feel this good energy." She was the last girl to leave and her next class was band. I told her to play me a song. She was not going to do it! And then with some cheering and chanting from me she got out her flute and played me the Scooby Doo theme song. She said, "When are you coming back?" I said, "Soon."
I know that forming real relationships with girls and giving them a space weekly or once a quarter to feel seen, valued and heard is the biggest gift I can give them. A hug, encouragement, a high five, eye contact, reassurance, tools to grow, and a place to show themselves with no judgements.
As the 2019-2020 school year has started I know it is important that I revisit the girls we worked with last year. The girls that we saw smile and share their feelings when normally they would be at the back of the class with their hood up and arms crossed.
I shared these stories with you because I need your help as a previous donor. I need to keep my promise to come back to all these girls. Please consider a donation that makes a big impact on our girls. "OUR" meaning humanity. We truly are in this together and I am called to be the one on the ground delivering the love but none of it could be done without you. I need your help.