What Young Women and Girls are Saying about HOTGIRLS
The HOTGIRLS Girls’ Leadership Council: Who We Are, and What We Are All About
by Amber Twine, Girls' Leadership Council member (2005-2007)
When some people hear the term, “hot girl,” they do not think of a talented, educated young woman with business attire. Instead, they think of a beautiful “ video girl”. Well the HOTGIRLS Girls’ Leadership Council consists of talented and educated young women who are changing the meaning of the term, “hot girl”. In 2001, Dr. Carla Stokes, also known as “Dr. Carla,” founded Helping Our Teen Girls In Real Life Situations, Inc. (HOTGIRLS). HOTGIRLS is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and lives of black young women and girls". According to Dr. Carla, the Girls’ Leadership Council is a “girl-led, adult supported program that promotes the self-empowerment of girls of color and inspires young women to create social change.” “Dr. Carla is so outgoing and committed to doing great things for us,” says Jazzmyn Carter, a Girls’ Leadership Council member.
Even though Dr. Carla is the Director of HOTGIRLS, the young women are involved a lot with making the program a success. In the summer of 2005, the Girls’ Leadership Council hosted a summit about violence against women and girls. At the summit, the young women participants acted out role-plays and worked on different projects expressing their feelings about violence against young women. “The summit was very nice, and since that day, I knew I wanted to be a Girls’ Leadership Council member,” says Jakia Goodwyn. “I got my chance to join and recently helped organize an HIV/AIDS awareness summit with the rest of the Girls’ Leadership Council members.”
“At first I didn’t really want to go,” admits Amber Twine. “ I mean it was the summer, and I had the choice to go hang out with one of my best friends in Florida or go to this summit all day. Today I have no regrets of going to the summit and missing the trip, because of all the fun I had, and I’m proud to say I am now an active member of the Girls’ Leadership Council.” At the summit, the young women also learned about street harassment, violence against women and girls, and self-defense. Self-defense is a good thing to know, because knowing how to protect yourself is always great.
The Girls’ Leadership Council meets in the Atlanta Underground. “We were really thankful to know that the staff and management at the Lowman Group, Inc. allowed us to use this space. It’s really helpful,” says another member, Jasmine Twine. The location where the Girls’ Leadership Council meets is a wise one. In the Atlanta Underground, there are so many young women whose lives can be touched by HOTGIRLS. The young women walk around and do a little shopping, but for the most part, they are getting themselves into trouble. “It’s really hard for a teenager to stay focused on the right things,” reports Sesyli Carter. “Dr. Carla is a very unique person and makes it easier to stay on track.” The parents of these young women all agree that the Girls’ Leadership Council is a very positive program, which helps the participants grow into stronger young women each day.