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G.L.O.S.S. gives girls a chance to shine

G.L.O.S.S. gives girls a chance to shine

In a world filled with distractions for today’s youth, a group of Lowcountry doctors are spending their free time volunteering with a group of middle school girls.

The group, G.L.O.S.S (Girls Loving Ourselves Successfully), was specifically created for girls in the 7th and 8th grades and focuses their commitment to service.

James Simons Elementary School is one of the places that G.L.O.S.S shines.

“The characteristics that are taught in G.L.O.S.S., what you need in order to be successful, are not written in the books," said Principal Quenetta White.

White became a principal after 17 years of teaching. She, along with Dr. Vivian Bea, decided that the pre-teen girls at the school needed more influences from women in their communities.

“Dr. Bea said 'You know what Quenetta, we need to do something. We need to give more girls this. We need to have a program where we encourage them and let them know they can be anything they want to be,'” said White.

So they partnered with doctors, nurses and entrepreneurs from around the Charleston area. The group of volunteers meet with the girls once a month.

Florence Heyward-Davis is a nurse and mentor with G.L.O.S.S. The Charleston native says it was programs like this that helped mold and motivate her.

“It was 4-H when I was coming up and I just got so many life experiences from that program,” she said.

She’s had a variety of successful careers--from owning a hair salon, to now owning her own nursing company. She says that there are a number of lessons to teach the girls, one is self-esteem.

“It’s very important," she said. "And I think it’s one of our biggest roles here, ensuring that they have a healthy self-esteem about themselves.”

They aim to foster self-esteem while also feeding the girls' interest in math and sciences.

Dr. Ebony Hilton is MUSC’s first black Anesthesiologist and one of only two African-American women to hold the position at the hospital.

The Spartanburg county native has been in Charleston for 17 years and says she knew at a young age she wanted to be a doctor. She helps G.L.O.S.S. encourage girls to find their passions and to never allow anyone to put a ceiling on their dreams.

“We always talk about preteens and unfortunately, that age range, they get labeled very early on," she said. "So we said, let’s get these ladies when they are just at their peak of discovering who they are and let’s tell them that they can be anything they want to be.”

Dr. Hilton attributes her success to all the many doctors that came before her. She said that mentoring is just one the few ways she’s able to give back to the community that’s given so much to her.

The G.L.O.S.S. girls are raising money for their leadership program this summer.

The 8th grade girls will travel to Orlando, Florida. To donate, visit their GoFundMe page here.

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