Lauren Galley is not like other girls. Although the 19-year old enjoys going to the mall and hanging out with her friends, she has a greater purpose in life.
“I have a passion for helping people,” Galley said. “Especially young girls.”
Galley has taken that passion and turned it into a mission. At an early age, Galley noticed many girls were depressed, confused, and having a hard time fitting in.
“These girls were feeling the pressure of society’s unrealistic standards,” she said. “They were changing who they were just to get attention. I knew I had to do something to stop this unhealthy cycle.”
In addition to watching the girls around her, Galley was struggling with some problems in her own life, specifically bullying. But Galley had one thing that many of the other girls didn’t have – a supportive family.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my parents’ support and guidance,” she said. “They really helped me to face some difficult situations.”
After some soul searching and encouragement from her family, Galley decided to start Girls Above Society, a non-profit organization that helps girls to cope with various issues and teaches them how to be comfortable in their own skin.
“A lack of self-confidence is the biggest issue that girls face today,” she said. “Girls need a safe place where they discuss their concerns, insecurities and problems without being judged.”
Galley created “Girl Talk” to give girls that safe haven. The program is designed to help girls in grades 5-9 to develop self-confidence and positively impact their communities. During the program, Galley discusses serious issues such as bullying, isolation, body image, and peer pressure. The girls have an opportunity to share their innermost fears and encourage one another.
Galley recalls a session where she witnessed one girl’s blossoming in front of her eyes.
“The girl was a little overweigh and sat quietly in the back,” she said. “As the session progressed, I noticed that she started to speak up and get more involved. By the end of the program, the girl was fully immersed in our activities and her personality started to shine. Before she left, she pulled me aside and said, ‘I never felt confident before and now I know how.’ These are the types of breakthroughs I hope every girl will experience.”
Galley is currently working on expanding Girls Above Society so she can help more girls.
“My goal is to bring on more Girl Talk leaders to hold talks across the country and eventually, around the world,” she said.
Recently, a girl from Africa contacted Galley to let her know how much Girls Above Society had impacted her life. Because of Galley’s influence, the girl started creating videos to help other girls across the African continent.
“It’s important for girls to find something that they love to do,” said Galley. “It helps instill confidence and gives them a sense of purpose.”
photo copyright Frederick J. Goodall