Mentoring in and out of the classroom

By Shelby Tankersley

From teaching in a classroom to mentoring young girls in the community, professor LaWanda Dickens doesn’t limit her teaching to a lecture hall.

Dickens works with the Girl Scouts, is a youth mentor and is the founder and executive director of Girls for Global Growth. Oh, and she also happens to be a writing professor at OU.

Due to all of her community involvement, Dickens has impacted many young girls and helps them take steps towards becoming the professionals they will someday be.

“I think what she’s doing is really wonderful,” senior Shivali Ami said.

While working with Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader, Dickens was able to work with girls of all ages and from different walks of life.

“Most of the girls I’ve worked with came from good homes. They sometimes had financial troubles,” Dickens said. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with girls of all ages.”

She said that the dedication of the parents of her girls was most inspiring.

“These were parents who are committed to their children no matter what the circumstance,” Dickens said.

On top of having clocked nearly a decade with Girl Scouts, Dickens founded Girls for Global Growth(G3) in 2012.

“The mission of G3 is to involve girls in activities that further their self-assurance, leadership and integrity,” Dickens said.

G3 involves the middle and high school girls who are involved in community service, field trips, public speaking and writing programs. The experience from these activities the G3 girls are receiving will better them later in life, according to Dickens.

The girls recently worked on cinquain poems while touring downtown Detroit. Dickens said the girls are becoming pretty good writers and hope to see their work showcased.

“I want to eventually put a page on the website to display the girls’ writing,” she said.

OU students and professors have reached out to Dickens to help with G3 so they can have their own impact on the girls.

Dickens said that it’s truly inspiring that her college students get involved.

“I mentor for G3,” Amin said. “Professor Dickens is really great at what she does and it’s a great thing that she’s doing.”

Though Dickens’ main inspiration for G3 stems from past students she has taught, her driving motive is her daughters.

“I have two daughters,” Dickens said. “I hear issues every day about what they have to grapple with as young women.”

Dickens is helping these girls to become people they will be proud to be someday.

To find out more about G3 and how to get involved, one can visit their website at www.girlsforglobalgrowth.org.