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Oxygen Finance

Oxygen’s Karen Gilbert supports Girls Out Loud at Role Model Relay

Earlier this month, Karen Gilbert, our Head of Marketing, joined a host of female role models for the launch of Girls Out Loud’s teenage girl mentoring programme at St. Julie’s Catholic High School in Liverpool.

We spoke to Karen to find out more…

Tell us more about the event and Girls Out Loud

“Girls Out Loud is a fantastic, award-winning charity which empowers teenage girls to believe in themselves and encourages them to seize their potential and make better life choices.

I volunteered to take part in the Role Model Relay event at St. Julie’s Catholic High School.  The role models came from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions, and we were very fortunate to meet over 160 Year 8 girls on the day.

The role model relay is the first step in a Big Sister programme, where volunteers get to mentor their ‘Little Sister’ over the coming year, to provide impartial and non-judgemental support and encouragement, and to provide a different perspective on the many challenges that they may face.”

Why did you choose to volunteer for Girls Out Loud?

“Young women and girls face so many pressures now and its important that they have the confidence and self-belief to make their own decisions, explore new and diverse opportunities, and to fulfil their potential.

Introducing the girls to a variety of real women, with differing experiences and backgrounds will hopefully offer them new ideas and build confidence to pursue the activities and studies that they really enjoy.

It’s also reassuring to show that things don’t always go to plan, and to positively demonstrate how you can overcome challenges, how you can gain positive support from others, and create a different path.”

How did the Role Model Relay work?

“Jane Kenyon, the founder of Girls Out Loud, opened the session by introducing three fantastic speakers – each one inspiring the girls with how they’d achieved success by overcoming their challenges and pursuing their passion.

We then met with the girls in small groups, in rotation, to talk about their aspirations, and to share our backgrounds. Many of us had no idea what we wanted to be when we were their age, so we were able to offer support to those who had a clear vision but also talk about opportunities and interests with others; expanding not only on their academic subjects, but possibilities within their sporting achievements and activities outside of school too. Most of all, we listened to what they wanted to say.”

Was the day a success?

“It certainly was! It was a fantastic day, and we were so lucky to meet such an interesting group. If we made a positive impression on just one person it would be worthwhile, but to hear the feedback from the girls in the video below is just wonderful.

Many of the girls said they were interested in having a ‘Big Sister’ through the programme and many commented on how the day had made them feel more confident in themselves.

Hopefully more schools will be interested in working with Girls Out Loud to run their own programmes. It was great to see coverage of the event at St Julie’s feature on Radio City as well as BBC North West, and fingers-crossed this raises more awareness.

I’d encourage all of the fantastic women I know to support Girls Out Loud and I’m enormously grateful to Oxygen Finance for providing the volunteering day so that I could support this amazing event.”

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