Girls Inc. of NYC is “Lifting Girls Up” with their new video series.
The nonprofit organization’s project, called “Lifting Girls Up” is created with the intention of helping young girls with mental health issues. The video series features celebrity guest stars like Alyssa Milano and Meagan Good in interviews by members of Girls Inc. of NYC. The girls ask questions about self-care and mental wellness.
“We want to bring awareness to issues facing girls because of the mental health crisis and because of what’s happening with teenagers all across America,” said Pamela Maraldo, CEO of Girls Inc. NYC. “Especially how Girls Inc. approaches it and what our values are. Our girls have an opportunity to ask the celebrity questions and they answer honestly about what they think, what’s happened in their own lives, and lessons they’ve learned.”
Maraldo said that featuring celebrity guests is teaching an important lesson to the young interviewers, as well as to the audience: You are not alone.
“Once you talk to these celebrities you find out pretty quickly they’re just like everybody else,” said Maraldo. “They have the same fears and anxieties and issues that we all do, and you want to know how they dealt with them because they’re in the spotlight. This teaches the girls that what they’re going through isn’t so unusual.”
The video series so far has featured actresses Alyssa Milano, Meagan Good and Jazmyn Simon. In the last two videos, the Girls Inc. members will speak with comedian Michelle Buteau and actress Tia Mowery.
“I think it’s one of my God-given purposes in life to help young ladies along their path to find out what they’re supposed to be doing with their life and how to do it,” Simon said in the third episode of the series.
Girls Inc. of NYC serves girls from ages six to eighteen from all kinds of diverse communities. They offer programs with a research-based curriculum to provide support in an all-girls environment. The program prioritizes wellness and encourages girls to overcome challenges by being “strong, smart, and bold,” according to their mission. Highly trained staff members help girls succeed academically as well as navigate gender, economic and social barriers.
“We hire girls that come from those communities, that look like the girls we serve so they can identify with them,” Maraldo said. “Our staff is so committed. When it came to COVID, they didn’t back off, they stepped it up in terms of keeping in touch and connected.”
In line with Girls Inc. of NYC’s mission, the girls ask the celebrity guests for their definition of “strong, smart, and bold” to close out each video.
“I think it means using your voice. I think it’s to feel confident enough that when you see injustices, you use your voice to fight against those injustices,” Milano said in the first episode of the series. “We have to all be strong enough to use our voice when we see something that we know is wrong.”
The videos premiere every other week leading up to the Girls Inc. of NYC’s Lifting Up Girls Gala on May 13 at 6 p.m. The event will be hosted by comedian Abbi Crutchfield. Registration for the Gala is free.