It’s time we believe in the girls not the statistics

Published 9:16 am Monday, March 2, 2020

Several weeks ago, I was working at Outside the Box when a group of girls came in to meet with its owner, tour his facility, ask about his business and relay their own ambitions.

It was not unlike a lot of other tours. Except that these ambitions were hugely different and high-sounding.

I guess I still expect to hear eighth-graders and high schoolers announce ambitions in ways well-known to me — teachers, nurses who marry doctors, things like that.

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What I did not expect to hear was this whole other vocabulary of aspirations including orthodontists, pediatricians and nurses who also happen to be models and traveling practitioners, veterinarians, volcanologists, seismologists and robotic engineers. Nor am I able to forget the cosmetologist among them, the aspiring OB/GYNs and the police officer standing right beside me, if OB/GYN route did not work out.

This last one was a special thrill since I already know a female doctor who got her bartending certification in case medicine did not work out.

Or pharmacists went out on strike.

You never know about these things.

Anyway, these girls comprise a very remarkable group of 12 to 18-year-olds, fifteen in all, who call themselves “P2D”, meaning Purpose to Destiny.  This group was founded and directed by Ms. Tanna N. Williams who describes her efforts as “Walking With Girls In The Purpose As We Lead Them Into Their Destiny.”

I love knowing and being part of groups like this. You may recall that once I wrote about another local girls’ group called “The Pretty Me Tea Society” whose aims are similar and similarly include leadership skills, college preparation and life skills, and practiced prolonged elegance. P2D meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at Warren Central Junior High School and they have a Facebook page.

And now back to these wondrous women in the making.

Mariah Smith wants to be an orthodontist; Kennedi Boyd, an entrepreneur; Analiza Simien, a pediatrician; and Ariel Miller, a nurse and simultaneous model; Ramerian Hamilton, a traveling nurse practitioner; Genesis Edmond, a veterinarian; Alana McBride, a volcanologist, a robotic engineer, and a seismologist; Jada Earl, a cosmetologist (and for those of you inclined, like me, to confuse cosmology with cosmetology, the first deals with the nature of the universe; the latter with that necessity called cosmetics); an OB/GYN, or a police officer; and  Meagan Williamson to our immense good fortune, another nurse practitioner.

At their age, I couldn’t pronounce, must less aspire to such esoteric callings. But I have no doubts that all of them will get there. Statistics say only a third will though. The statistics say that only three of these nine girls will reach their goals in life. But I believe the girls.

What must change, though, are the barriers that stand — and stay — in their way. Whatever barriers they face will likely not be of their making.  But the first move in any achievement is desire.

And that is why, with all these girls, I believe them, and not statistics.

 

Yolande Robbins is a community columnist for The Vicksburg Post.