The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation hosted the first ever "Girls Who Rule the World" Mentoring Weekend in Atlanta this past weekend. A hundred girls, aged 13-18, flocked to the conference to get some big sis wisdom from successful women like Sherri Shepherd, Keri Hilson, Terri Vaughn, State Farm VP Pam El, ESSENCE's very own Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray and Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor. ESSENCE.com caught up with Marjorie Harvey her goals for the "Girls Who Rule the World" Mentoring Weekend
, and how you can get involved. ESSENCE.com: How did you and Steve come up with the idea to mentor these teenage girls for a weekend? MARJORIE HARVEY:
It's a spin-off from my husband's boys mentoring weekend. It was such a huge success and we had an overwhelming response from the boys, and we couldn't forget about our girls. The reason why we chose Atlanta is because, number one, the high school dropout rate -- and we're having issues with teenage pregnancy, girls being promiscuous, girls with transmitted diseases and prostitution, just a number of things. So we decided to do it here, we've had a great response from the girls. ESSENCE.com: How are the girls chosen to participate? HARVEY:
They went on our website and applied. They had to fill out the application and write an essay and we selected them based on that. It wasn't an academic thing. ESSENCE.com: What are the goals and objectives for the weekend? Name some specific workshops and lessons. HARVEY:
They get to have Q&As and they get a chance to ask questions about the problems and situations they've been dealing with. We're talking about "My Body, My Temple" and we're doing seminars where they get a chance to sit with the ladies and find out about their careers and how they became who they are. We're hoping that by having an up-close and personal interaction with these women they'll come away feeling good about themselves and know that they're queens; that they're empowered and to stop relinquishing that power to people that don't deserve it. ESSENCE.com: How can girls apply for next year? HARVEY:
It's the same process we have with our boys, we're going to do the same process with our girls. Hopefully, we can take this nationally. I love kicking it off in Atlanta. ESSENCE.com: For those of us who are inspired by this amazing weekend, how can we get involved? HARVEY:
Well, we're always in need of volunteers, financial support, there are plenty of ways. You can go online and see how you can get involved, you can donate your time. Time is always valuable. We've had an overwhelming number of women that said, "How can I help? I want to come get the girls organized, check in, help facilitate, and make sure the girls are safe, where they're suppose to be." There are plenty of things to do. Everyone is not speaking, but everyone's job is equally important. ESSENCE.com: What advice do you have for young girls who couldn't attend this year's event but still need mentoring? HARVEY:
There are plenty of women that they can always reach out to. You have teachers, you have someone in your church. Please understand that you don't have to keep whatever is going on, whatever has happened in your life to yourself and no one is expecting anyone to be perfect. Please understand the woman you'll be reaching out to has a story too. None of us has gotten to where we are by ourselves. We all have somebody that inspired us, that reached out to us. We need that. We need more of that. We need more women embracing each other, lifting each other up and being supportive of each other. They have to understand that at an early age. We have to support each other. For more information about The Steve and Marjorie Harvey foundation, click here...