INDIANAPOLIS — 16-year-old Zion Wilson is developing her voice.
“I learned about being more confident in what I say," Wilson, a Lawrence Central High School student said.
She's a part of the youth mentorship organization Leading Ladies.
Mom Ebonee says she’s seen her daughter grow during her eight years in the program.
“I have seen her confidence rise a little bit. She’s working on the shyness but she’s more able now to step out and just be who she truly is," Ebonee said.
Leading ladies helps girls in Indianapolis embrace themselves, define their future, and change the world.
“There’s a need everywhere. I think all girls need to be served. All youth need to be served," Founder and CEO La Tonya Brown said.
The program has four focus areas:
- Character and Leadership Development
- Education and Career Development
- Life Skills and Financial Empowerment
- Enrichment and Community Service Experiences
Brown’s goal is to help the girls make healthy choices at school, at home and in their community.
“Often times we can say stuff to young ladies and say okay this is what you can do," Brown said. These are the possibilities. These are the opportunities but if they don’t see it and they can’t put their hand on it, they can’t grasp it. For us to be able to do that is important."
The program also provides mental health services like therapy and counseling.
Brown says it’s important for these girls to deal with things like trauma, low self esteem and bullying in a healthy way.
“Mental health is important and real. We don’t talk enough about mental health. It’s affecting not only our girls but it’s affecting others every single day, including their family members as well," Brown said.
As for Wilson, she plans to use the skills she’s learned through Leading Ladies in her adult life.
That’s why she wants to become a psychologist when she grows up.
“I just wanna help people and make people better," Wilson said.
Their upcoming gala 'Soaring High' is this weekend. It runs from 4 - 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Municipal Gardens Family Center.
The family center is located at 1831 Lafayette Rd in Indianapolis.
It will highlight the students and recognize those who’ve helped contribute to their success.
You can find more information here.