( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Girl Vow, Inc. Provides Education, Mentorship and Life Skills Training to Disadvantaged Women and Girls
ENSPIRE Contributor: Kate Newman
Founded by New York City native Dawn Rowe, Girl Vow, Inc. aims to arm disadvantaged girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth with the necessary skills to overcome the institutional and bureaucratic barriers facing them. Never forgetting her troubled childhood, Dawn has set out to be the helping hand she was fortunate to receive in her youth. Kind enough to share her story, she said this, “as a young black girl, my life was driven by pain that impacted how I viewed my perspectives. My life compass was stuck at the intersection of intergenerational trauma, failure, and poverty. I was challenged by self-harm, the lack of education, and living with a single parent who did not know she was a container for pain.” At the age of 16, the kindness of a school teacher helped change her outlook on life, noting that it was the first time she’s felt she had a purpose. Unbeknownst to her then, but the earliest stages of Girl Vow, Inc., were being set and great things were soon to come.
Years later, through her work with Girl Vow, Inc. Dawn is inspiring the same feelings in young women changing their outlooks on life and reminding them of their worth. In her own words, “Girl Vow is my direct response to supporting girls and gender expansive youth the way women have traditionally supported me.” Through mentorship, life-skills training, and education, Girl Vow, Inc. has improved the lives of over 3,000 girls impacted by poverty, the New York City foster care system, and the juvenile justice system. In just a few years, Girl Vow, Inc., has put on over 1,068 workshops and dispersed more than $70,000 in stipend to girls who need it.
All too frequently in America, the system fails to provide equal and fair opportunities to all regardless of their sex, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Recognizing the gaps left by the bureaucracy, Girl Vow, Inc. is working to catch vulnerable slipping through those gaps. As Dawn put it, “we have an unwritten social contract to care for one another. Although the government acts as the nation’s parent, there is a limit on how the government can serve and do so effectively. In my mentor Dr. Zelma Henriques’ words, the only time we should bend down is to help someone up”. Thanks to organizations like Girl Vow, Inc., individuals who are left disadvantaged by bureaucratic institutions can still find quality support systems, access to positive opportunities, and a place to heal. By spreading the Girl Vow, Inc.’s message, the organization will ideally continue to be a guiding light to those who need them the most.