Local youth involved with Kids Aspiring to Dream in Tyler join together to express their creativity in areas like art, poetry, dance, music, and impromptu speaking.
Schools, clubs, and a range of mentoring programs throughout East Texas focus on encouraging and empowering children, with some geared specifically toward artistic pursuits and others toward girls and the goal of helping youth visualize lives of achievement, accomplishment, and personal power. Here are a few.
Partners in Prevention
A decade-old mentoring program that creates match-ups between community women and girls in the fifth grade through high school, this group provides “Forever Friends” pairings for one-on-one support and weekly meetings. Mentors and the girls typically meet in groups at schools with a facilitator who plans activities, but the program also has Forever Friends Too mentoring involving one-on-one mentoring for girls as young as kindergarten through high school — plus a Co-Pilot program for boys. Partners in Prevention serves youth in six counties and includes school campuses in Longview, Pine Tree, Spring Hill, Kilgore, Gladewater, Hallsville, and Ore City. More information is available by calling 903.237.1019.
Kids Aspiring to Dream
Founded by former Lindale art teacher Doris Batson, the Tyler-based nonprofit Kids Aspiring to Dream uplifts youth by encouraging students from junior high through college to express themselves creatively in areas like art, poetry, dance, music, and impromptu speaking. Parti-cipating students connect with community mentors through a “Light the Dream” mentorship and leadership program at monthly forums held at Tarrant Junior College’s west campus. There’s also a smaller program for “Baby K’s” as young as nine, and in addition to artistic endeavors, the nonprofit includes a scholarship pro-gram and charitable and service-driven activities. For more information, visit kidsaspiringtodream.org.
The National Charity League
This group is represented in Northeast Texas by the Lone Star Chapter, which serves Rockwall County. Putting an emphasis on community service, leadership development and cultural experiences, the group strives to develop female leaders. Each year, a small group of girls and their moms have meetings and activities with the goal of supporting as many as 20 local charities like Meals on Wheels, the Special Olympics and Operation Homefront. Organizers say membership is limited, with a total of 168 girls each year. After students graduate from high school, they may continue NCL participation through a group called Supernovas. Learn more about the Lone Star Chapter at lonestar.nationalcharityleague.org.
The Rhoer Club
An affiliate of the service organization Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., this group in Longview caters to teenage girls aged 12-18 who also want to serve the community and share their strengths and talents. The local chapter is Alpha Gamma Sigma, and the organization’s motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress.” Membership requires a letter of recommendation and evidence of academic achievement. Rhoers participate in organizations like the East Texas Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club and Keep Longview Beautiful. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.