This June, Amelia Dickinson will be heading to Malawi with the Peace Corps to teach high school English and promote gender equality. As she was celebrating this opportunity with her coworkers, she ran into Girls Inc. staff. “I was celebrating my future and it seemed fitting to celebrate with Girls Inc. as well because if it weren’t for them, I know I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would not be embarking on the opportunity of a lifetime. Girls Inc. gave me confidence. They showed me that it was cool to learn. They pushed me and encouraged me to be the best person I could be.”
She participated in the Girls Inc. Lego League team, Gear Girls, and learned to build and program a robot. She explored the world of STEM and learned that the world of science belongs to all of us, not only to men. She grew to enjoy it so much that she began taking computer programming classes at school.
She also participated in Material Girls where she learned about construction and how to use power tools. In this program, girls built bookcases and picnic tables, learned how to put siding on a house, and learned to identify different architectural designs. She put the skills she gained in Material Girls to good use during her junior year in college. She volunteered one weekend with Habitat for Humanity. While at the worksite, an older gentlemen wanted help putting the siding up. She told the man she had experience doing it but was ignored. He asked every man in the group if they knew how to put it up. Each one said no. He thought putting siding up was a man’s job and wanted the girls in the group to stick to painting. She finally insisted on helping him was shocked when he saw that she actually knew what she was doing. Girls Inc. taught her women are just as capable as men.
Growing up, she always wanted to go to St. Paul’s School, a private boarding school in New Hampshire. Both her parents worked at the school in the food service and custodial departments. She was devastated when she wasn’t accepted. She credits the staff at Girls Inc. for being there for her during that time. They were determined to see her dream become a reality and worked with her for a year on her application so that she would be more competitive the following year. She worked with me for that entire year. It worked. The next year, she got in. “The staff at Girls Inc. consistently pushed me to be the best I could possibly be.”
Since then, she has had some incredible opportunities. She spent her junior year of high school in Italy. Then in senior year, she traveled to Kentucky to build homes. While at college, she helped the local police create a curriculum to teach international students about the role of police. She triple majored in Italian, Political Science, and Justice Studies and minored in Forensic Science. And now, she is about to travel halfway across the world.
“The programs at Girls Inc. teach girls that there is no limit to their potential. From construction classes to programming lessons, Girls Inc. opened doors that I never knew existed. They provided the guidance and support to make my seemingly impossible dreams become amazing realities. For that I am eternally grateful. I am stronger now, smarter now, and far bolder than I ever thought I could be!”