A note from Amelia, one of our girls

Today, we join with organizations around the world to celebrate the International Day of the Girl — an annual reminder to stand up and create opportunities for girls.

Here at Hands Offering Hope, we responded to the unique needs of the girls in our programs by building the Women’s Collective, a group of women who raise support and advocate on behalf of girls in Mexico. And this fall, we launched the Women’s Collective mentoring program.

Our female students are matched with professional female Mexican leaders — women who understand the realities of our students and provide them with regular encouragement, support, and advice.

Here is what our student Amelia shared after her first call with her mentor,

“My mentor Teresa and I have so many things in common. We both love to dance, we both love helping others — and I learned that when she was young, she had the same doubts and fears that I have now. Things like: What am I going to do after I’m done with high school? Will I be successful? Will I live up to my expectations? We will talk about all these fears and doubts in our calls — and I know that she is a kind and safe person who I like a lot. I think we are going to be great friends.”

We believe every girl deserves to know she’s not alone, and that she can overcome the obstacles in her path to reach her dreams. This mentorship program provides a monthly checkpoint to help our girls set goals and receive encouragement to reach them.

Thank you for making relationships like the one between Amelia and Teresa possible. And thank you for standing up for our girls.

World Teacher’s Day

There’s a quote from Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis that I’ve been reflecting on this week:

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

I keep coming back to it because it reminds me so much of our incredible instructors at the Institute each summer. Our teachers are experts in their fields—busy people from around the world who carve out time to invest in our students because they believe in the power and potential of young people.

It’s amazing to watch them build bridges, share wisdom, and teach from the heart—and it’s a joyful celebration when we get to step back and watch our students take the lead.

So today, on World Teachers’ Day, join me in thanking the incredible, dedicated, enthusiastic instructors that care so deeply for our students.

And I encourage you to take a moment today to send a note of gratitude to the teachers who built bridges for you, too! Each one of us has gotten to where we are because teachers helped pave our way.