Mentees at My Girlfriend’s House participate in a business plan workshop.

My Girlfriend’s House, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help at-risk women and  girls develop self-worth while advancing their career and academic skills, celebrated its third year of service on July 26 with an evening filled with delicious food accompanied by live music and exciting presentations.

“A lot of the girls that come into our program are either from low income communities, shelters or group homes,” said Shanae Newman, program coordinator. “Our goal is to have them become strong members of the community through building their leadership skills and their self-confidence.”

According to Newman, this year was a big year for the organization; it introduced two new programs. The alternative school suspension program works with girls in middle and high school in Prince George’s County by providing a safe and productive haven for the girls. Rather than be home without supervision, the girls go to My Girlfriend’s House and do school work and talk to facilitators who will help them understand the reason for their suspension and work through the issues to prevent future suspensions.

The spring break college tour is another recently implemented program. Selected girls will travel to college campuses where they will meet ambassadors and administrators who will provide them with information on the school as well as financial opportunities available to them.

“We try to encourage the girls in homeless shelters we work with to travel with us, because this experience helps them to see how they can make a transition from high school to college,” Newman said.

One of the organization’s premiere and ongoing programs is its Purse String’s Drive, which will be coming up in October. According to Newman, the organization’s goal is to collect 800 purses to be distributed to homeless shelters in the Prince George’s and Baltimore counties and the Washington, D.C. area. The purses are filled with about 15 personal care items before they are donated to teen girls and women who are living in the 25 to 35 homeless shelters the organization serves


My Girlfriend’s house members.

The organization also boasts about its successful program that mentors at least 25 girls every Saturday. In each session, the girls are provided with a curriculum that covers topics that affect them personally and socially.

“The girls in our program come in dealing with a lot of different issues; when they come in here, it’s a safe haven for them,” Newman said. “When they come in here they are speaking with someone who is always on their side, someone who can advocate for some of the things they are doing or need to be doing. We give them the opportunity to explore different experiences that they might not be able to experience outside of the program.”

My Girlfriend’s House was founded by Veronica Eyenga, the executive director of the organization in 2010. The organization was initially begun as a social club for professional women who came together to share and give back to the community. The networking group soon evolved into an outreach initiative that was focused on empowering women and teen girls.

Maria Adebola

Special to the AFRO