This week I’m excited to share with you a special organization I discovered earlier this summer! I met the Executive Director of Elite Women of Excellence, Lisa Smith, at an event hosted in Atlanta and we soon found we had much to talk about! EWOE was founded by Lisa 16 years ago while she was searching for a faith-based development program for her own girls.
Elite Women of Excellence exists to provide programming for girls from all socio-economic backgrounds with life-changing perspectives and practices to build confidence, wisdom and courage.
The key piece I find most interesting is life-changing perspectives for those from all socio-economic backgrounds.
I was all ears when she started sharing how her programs are integrating girls from inner-city Atlanta with girls from all communities throughout metro Atlanta. Where we live should not matter, but we can’t deny that sometimes where we live puts us at a disadvantage economically and even socially and emotionally. What makes EWOE’s mentoring program unique is that it brings these girls together to discover their similarities and almost non-existent differences. By sharing the same educational content and providing a consistent healthy influence, these girls can grow together, rather than grow apart. I think that’s simply beautiful!
So, what do the programs focus on?
Faith & Service - The organization focuses upon growing the girls’ faith to help guide their actions and decisions which will affect their future. By introducing young women to Christ, they help them recognize they were each made with a purpose for their life. They also introduce a biblical perspective to community service, as a way to respond to the call of the Lord. At times, the girls have been given a small amount of money and challenged to grow it through community service projects, big and small. One girl raised money through printed fliers she handed out in her subdivision. Another girl decorated a box for a local bank and received donations. One year they even raised $1,000 for a pregnancy center. As Lisa says, they “bring scripture to life and make it active”!
Academics & Career Planning - Programing is designed to walk with the girls as they transition through natural development phases in middle and high school. There is a social-emotional component involved, developing life skills and decision making along the way. EWOE partners with schools to reach the girls, but also has Saturday workshops. In leading these workshops, they realized program effectiveness is increased when parents are engaged too! Which leads me to my next point…
Relationships - A big part of EWOE’s success with young women revolves around relationships at home, with each other, and the community. About 50% of their workshops are attended by parents as a way to extend the learning through consistency in conversations at home. In addition, they host a Daddy-Daughter night and a Girls night out Mom-Daughter event. Both serve as ways to generate alignment among the girls and their parents and use faith as the underlying element. The other big relational component comes from the girls receiving support from each other. I love the relational piece of their program! The fact that they bring people together from all walks of life to help young women grow together is a breath of fresh air!
Above: Lisa Smith, myself, and EWOE mom and facilitator
I had the opportunity to interact with the girls a few weeks ago when Lisa invited me to speak at one of their Saturday workshops. They’re currently discussing passion, purpose and career planning, and I was there to share my own personal journey of answering God’s call to walk with those in need. I made a point to emphasize I “have not made it” in life by any means, yet I’ve made it right to where God wants me to be - answering his ever evolving call! The young women were eager to learn and curious to know what it’s like to follow Him. I could see the longing in their eyes to find their own way. And it’s that longing in their eyes that gives me full confidence they will!
Looking to get involved? EWOE is looking for facilitators who have a passion for youth. They also have availability for grant writers and a prayer team.
Any high school girl can apply to participate too!
Learn more about EWOE’s mission here. Do you have organizations with similar missions where you live? Are there ways these organizations could learn from each other? Comment below!