Nonprofit inspires girls to be brilliant, beautiful and bold
By: Amanda Ventura
If you ask a room of 40 women if they had been taught how to build and maintain self-esteem, 34 of them will probably say no. That’s what Dena Patton, CEO of Girls Rule Foundation, has found.
It’s why the mission of her 501-c3 nonprofit is to teach girls between 7th and 12th grades how to build confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills.
“This is an exciting year, because we are expanding our facilitator team not only in Arizona but through out-of-state advocates who will be attending our facilitator training this fall,” Patton says.
She has big dreams this year to impact 12,000 girls through Girls Rule’s five programs — a seven-day leadership summer camp, with facilitators who come as varied as former spaceflight instructors for NASA; the annual mother-daughter Shine Brightly Summit; an after-school club called dreamLAB; and two free workshops, Dream Big and Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold, for schools, groups and nonprofits around Arizona. The latter are booked through the Girls Rule website.
“When I heard about the Girls Rule Foundation, I was immediately intrigued,” says board member Tish Times. “I had been a part of an organization that had a huge impact on my life as a teenager and wanted other young girls to have a similar experience.”
If you stand back and look at your dreams, it changes everything, Patton says. “What we have found is that girls with big dreams often become women with big vision, and vision is what solves big problems in the world,” she says. “That is why our programs play an important role in all girls lives.”
Patton, a full-time life and business coach and best-selling author, co-founded Girls Rule with three like-minded women in 2007.
“We are raising the next generation of women leaders, teachers, mothers, inventors, CEOs and entrepreneurs,” Patton says. “As parents, we only have 18 summers with our kids, so through programs like ours we help girls learn crucial life skills that will help them be successful and become our next generation of leaders.”
Jessica Symmes, 18-year-old captain of her high school dance team, was one of four girls awarded the Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold Role Model Award last year by Girls Rule Foundation.
“I love that Girls Rule advocates for strong and intelligent girls and women and then follows through by providing resources and connections that give them an opportunity to grow,” she says. “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that you have two voices – smallness and greatness – and the moment you learn how to quiet your smallness and realize the power of your greatness, you’ll be on the path to success.”
Dena Patton is a full-time life and business coach, best-selling author, and CEO of Girls Rule Foundation.