The Sparkle Pink Girls Club is a nonprofit organization with a mission of building confidence and self esteem in girls aged 3-13, and empowering them to make better, bigger choices that set them up for a powerful life. Founded in 2007 by Deria Brown of Flint, it has grown to become a national organization with chapters in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada.
It all started when Brown and her husband were working with underprivileged teens in the City of Flint who were age 14 and older. “We realized that girls face a lot of different issues,” Brown states. “We wanted to address those issues and make a change in their lives.” This is when the idea of Sparkle Pink Girls Club (SPGC) came about, and Brown began working with girls at an earlier age. “I’m able to instill dominant thoughts,” says the club founder, “such as knowing your value, making good choices and establishing relationships with your mom or primary caregiver.” The organization also teaches about entrepreneurship and leadership skills. “It’s amazing what a three-year-old can do!” Brown exclaims.
It is especially important to Brown to reach out to girls at a younger age because statistics indicate that the suicide rate is up 13 percent for girls age 14-18. “That is alarming!” she exclaims. These statistics led Brown and her team to include the subject of mental health in the curriculum.
“We see a lot of tears and a lot of pain. We provide the girls with a safe place to talk and share their feelings.”
The SPGC beliefs include: every girl should have access to education; every girl should have hygiene products and be taught how to use them; every girl should have a day to feel like a princess; girls should be pampered and protected; every girl is beautiful and should be trained how to politely respond to words that say otherwise. In order to instill these beliefs, Brown creates the curriculum and, working with a team of volunteers, holds monthly club meetings. “All the girls learn the same lessons,” she explains.
One of the curriculum topics is “Boys,” according to Brown. A whole series was added to teach the girls how to respond to boys in certain situations. Another topic is “Bullying,” including the cyber aspect of it. The most important topic is “Self Esteem.” “Some girls are online six to eight hours a day and compare themselves to the beautiful women they see,” Brown states, “and without parental oversight, they are getting their values from what they see online.” This is when SPGC comes in to provide the girls with real-life, positive role models. “We see a lot of tears and a lot of pain,” Brown admits. “We provide them with a safe place to talk and to share their feelings. And, they love to talk!”
The SPGC holds an annual conference – this September, it took place in Las Vegas. The agenda includes giveaways, music and food and it is just a fun day for the youngsters. “It’s a day for each girl to feel like a princess!” Brown exclaims.
Brown has found her work for Sparkle Pink to be very rewarding. “The need is much greater than me; it keeps me up at night; but I am so fulfilled. I don’t get tired of it.” And, the success of the girls who have participated in the Sparkle Pink Girls Club is astounding. “In 14 years, we have not had one teen pregnancy,” Brown is proud to report. “They have gone on to attend college and are employed. Once they know their value, they succeed.”
How You Can Help?
Donations of hygiene products are appreciated: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste and toothbrushes, hair combs.
For monetary donations: become a Pink Partner by visiting sparklepink.org/pink-partners
Photos provided by Deria Brown