by Dianna Flett

When I was a little girl, my mother had a garden on the side of the house. It was filled with flowers of all types and she was so proud of the way it looked when the flowers were in full bloom. I have many memories of that garden, but probably the most distinct one is how many times my sister and I had to pull the weeds that surrounded the flowers.

We hated it.

We would fuss and moan every time momma would come and tell us we needed to go out to garden.

“Mom, they’re weeds-they’ll just grow back!” we fussed.

“If you don’t pick the weeds, the flowers can’t grow,” mom would say.

“Yes, they will, momma, they’ll grow, they will!” we promised.

“They’ll still come up,” she’d said, “but they won’t be as beautiful as they will be if you get rid of the weeds.”

I’ve come to understand life is about picking the weeds in our garden. Every one of us has the potential to grow beautiful, unique and healthy flowers. If we’re not careful the weeds in our garden will choke the flowers and hide them. We have to work hard and be strong enough to pick the weeds and take them out of our garden so they don’t impact the potential of what we have to offer.

I understand no matter what we do, weeds grow. Sometimes they blow in from someone else’s garden—someone who hasn’t been as diligent in picking their weeds, or maybe they don’t have the ability, or hasn’t learned the skill of picking weeds. Some weeds were always there and we didn’t do the work to get rid of them when we first recognized them.

Now imagine the beauty when others look into your garden and offer to help you tend to the growth of your flowers. That happened for us this summer. Two beautiful girls, Priyah and Sareena, chose Girl Smarts as the focus for their summer efforts to support something they believed in. Using patience and creativity, the charitable organization they created, “The Shine Organization”, raised $1,000 to support a program at a local elementary school. Twenty-five girls at Spotswood Elementary were able to attend the program free of charge thanks to The Shine Organization, Priyah and Sareena specifically.

TheShineFoundation

SpotswoodGirls

Both of these young women attended Girl Smarts at their elementary school about eight years ago and really understood the value of the program. They decided to help tend to the garden of girls we support.

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That’s what Girl Smarts is all about. Giving our girls the skills to pick the weeds. Giving them the knowledge that the weeds will come, but they have the strength to get rid of them before they impact the blossoming flowers of their lives. Girl Smarts teaches the girls that weeds don’t belong in our garden and we don’t need to hold on to them. Thanks to these girls, #allthegirls will learn the skills to keep growing and blossoming into the women they are meant to be.

I will learn to tend to my garden. I will learn to be a part of my community’s garden and together we will grow flowers.

That’s what we all need to believe as our mission in life. Together we can and do make a difference and the end result will be beautiful.