Sophia Voelkel is a Girl Talk leader, mentoring young teens in the North Star Youth Partnership program in Prescott, Ariz. The program pairs older teens with younger pre-teens or early teens. She shares her story with us.
When I first became a North Star Girl Talk leader, I was really nervous. The girls I mentored were just as scared as I was, and most of them were very shy and quiet - but that soon changed as everyone opened up to each other.
Girl Talk Benefits Students and Leaders
Soon we became a close-knit group of young women and learned to lean on each other. The girls have opened up to me and the other leaders, giving us a sneak peek into their lives, including things like the silly boy dramas and the problems they have at home.
Every Wednesday, my relationship with the girls is strengthened through our discussions. For example, I have never experienced divorce first hand, but we have more than a few girls that have. They have shown me how saddened they were by what was happening in their families, and I have realized that these girls are strong in ways that I am weak. They can teach me just as much about life and struggling as I can teach them. The relationship myself and the girls have goes both ways, and we all benefit from it.
Throughout the year, I have seen each girl evolve and mature, and I am so incredibly proud of each of their achievements. Whether it’s the "A" that they got on a really hard test, or scoring a goal at their first soccer game of the year, they come to Girl Talk with smiles on their faces, dying to share the news with me.
I have seen firsthand that Girl Talk is a safe haven for them, and how they can’t wait for Wednesday to roll around.
Myself and other leaders are their role models, and we are helping to shape them into the young ladies they will become. They are also teaching us new lessons every day.
I have fallen in love with this program, and the girls have become an integral part of my life just as I have become in their lives. I may not have known what to expect when I first joined this program, but I have no regrets. I am so grateful to have taken this opportunity, and it is one I will truly never forget.
Sophia Voelkel serves as a Girl Talk Leader at Prescott Mile High Middle School. She is graduating from Prescott High School and will be attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to complete a degree in Global Security and Intelligence on the Mandarin track. She will continue to volunteer in the Girl Talk program as an advisor.