This week in Orange County was great for the majority of the week. Unfortunately, this week is only defined by one incident that I had to mediate. Going into an internship, one might expect to have to adjust to office culture or to be caught in the middle of an office squabble. I, however, was the mediator in a different kind of office fight.
On Thursday during STEM, a student came to me and asked if we could speak outside. When we got outside, she informed me that three of the other girls were calling her names and bullying her. I was horrified. Girls Inc. is supposed to be a place where girls can come and be themselves, surrounded by a community of empowering girls. But for this one student, Girls Inc. was not a safe place.
My mind was in a different place on Thursday. Additionally, my schedule was different because for an hour of the day I was playing UNO, the student’s preferred pastime, outside. I had to change my schedule on a whim. This decision was no challenge though because I could relate to what the girl was going through and wanted her to feel safe at Girls Inc.
Later in the day, I found out that the student struggling with bullying also had struggles at home. It seemed unfair to me that a young girl had to deal with so much. I felt like Girls Inc. was failing at its mission to create a safe space for girls to share their experiences. I battled with this for the day and still struggle with it.
The end of the day restored a part of my faith in Girls Inc. We had a Girls Inc. Got Talent show where girls got to show off their talents from singing and dancing to making barking sounds that sounded strangely similar to a dog’s. The support that the girls received from their friends was something I have never seen before. This experience showed me that nothing can be perfect. Because of this experience, I am going to work extra hard to make sure each and every girl at Girls Inc. feels special and valued.