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Hiring Hoosiers: Girl Talk Inc. empowers Indianapolis-area girls for successful futures

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 08:00:18-04

Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from WRTV that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit HiringHoosiers.com. See new stories weekdays at 6 a.m. on WRTV.

INDIANAPOLIS — A local program is helping give girls in central Indiana a leg up when making choices about their future.

Girl Talk Inc. is a mentor and empowerment program for girls ages 10 through 18.

Downtown, on the near-east side on the old Angie’s List campus, a room is filled with young girls with big goals. There is one woman who has made it her mission to make sure girls in Indianapolis have what they need to make their dreams a reality, with her organization, Girl Talk Inc.

“Our goal is to provide girls in this community the tools, education, resources and life skills they need so when they go out in this world and try to navigate it,” Sonya Cooke, the president and founder of Girl Talk Inc., said.

Cooke organizes eight-week courses throughout the year focusing on specific topics to ensure girls and teens have the knowledge to make educated choices now and in the future.

Girl Talk covers career skills, sex education, and self-confidence to just name a few. When WRTV visited a Girl Talk Inc. workshop, the girls were learning about finances.

“Financial literacy is not taught in all schools and when you grow up in the urban community, you are not getting this financial education and I felt that it was important for girls to understand that if you understand finances at an early age, you can make responsible decisions,” Cooke said.

For Cooke, her mission for these girls is personal, because the has lived it.

“I was a teen mom, I had three kids by the time I was 18 years old and I was kind of lost and I didn't have somebody to talk to, and I didn't want another girl to feel like that or go through that when there are people like me and other people that want to be there for young girls,” Cooke said.

What shines through Cooke’s mission of Girl Talk Inc, is creating connections for girls who may not have them at home.

“I am not really good at communicating really because of childhood trauma and it is difficult,” Brianna Green, a 15-year-old sophomore from the west side of Indianapolis, said. “I like it, I think Miss Sonya actually like listens that she really wants us to succeed.”

Girl Talk Inc. is a space for young girls to learn a little more about themselves too.

“I learned that my voice can speak a little bit more louder and that I am really confident in lots of different things, I just got to find my confidence and find the road the road that I need to travel on more and be more braver and be more wise,” Brooklyn Williams, a 10-year-old participant of Girl Talk Inc., said.

“It just makes you feel better about yourself, this class makes me feel like I can succeed in life and I can actually go somewhere when I get older and get out of high school,” Dakota Toomer, a 14-year-old freshman from Southport, said. “Before this class started I didn't really like talking in front of a lot of people and I was really shy. This has helped me speak out and show my voice and I want to be able to help girls my age around the world too.”

Girl Talk Inc. is an opportunity for young Hoosier girls to learn life lessons that are not always taught in school and empower these girls to become successful women on whatever path they choose to take.

“It doesn't matter if you are Black, white, blue or green, all of us women go through the same things, so you know we want to make sure that girls are confident when they go out there into this world," Cooke said. "We want to make sure they have the knowledge and the skills they need to be successful. We want to make sure that they have self-love, we want to make sure that they have self-worth, we want to make sure that they are confident in the decisions that they make.”

The next eight-week session begins Saturday and runs every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

It is $25 to register and covers the classes, served lunches, and a gift bag at the end of the session.

To learn more about Girl Talk Inc, sign up for a session or donate/volunteer, you can visit its website.

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