Girls Growing II Women celebrates another year of empowering girls

GVL / Courtesy -

GVL / Courtesy –

Jessica Harsevoort

Alongside many high-school groups in West Michigan stands a non-profit organization, Girls Growing II Women (GGIIW) Inc. June 2017 marks the fourth anniversary of the organization, and its members will celebrate their time together and their mission to achieve lifelong success with an anniversary celebration.

GGIIW will host its annual anniversary celebration Saturday, June 24, in Grand Rapids. The gathering will be from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will include dinner, live performances and a raffle.

Established June 2013, the organization provides a support system for females ages 14 to 19. Based in Grand Rapids, GGIIW is a preventative group whose aim is to empower young ladies.

GGIIW’s goal is to further young women’s education, help them reach their full potential and build their self-esteem while serving the community.

Latasha Robertson-Crump started the organization to fill the high-school program niche for on-track female adolescents.

“The majority of the groups targeted high-risk adolescent issues such as teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, expulsion and more,” Robertson-Crump said. “I also realized that not all adolescent girls have a strong supportive network to steer them in the right direction.”

Robertson-Crump explained how young adults on the right track still must overcome many risk factors that may derail their path.

In addition to her own high-school experiences and observations, Robertson-Crump also created GGIIW because it is her passion to work with young women.

“The young ladies of GGIIW bring so much joy to my life” Robertson-Crump said. “So, I am blessed to be a part of their journeys and see all of their growth and accomplishments.”

The organization meets twice a month for two-and-a-half hours with 10 months of workshops and two months of summer trips.

During each workshop, the group discusses various topics such as identity, healthy relationships, self-esteem, independent thinking and etiquette. The workshops are a judgement-free zone with guest speakers, college visits and lunch.

Setting up the meetings every other Saturday can be a lot of work. So, Reonna McLemore, the GGIIW youth president, helps to lead the group and plan activities alongside the youth vice president.

One of McLemore’s favorite parts about the meetings is listening to guest speakers.

“I get to see someone like me, someone who has faced some of the same challenges that I encounter and surpassed them,” she said.

GGIIW members also volunteer for a required amount of community service to gain awareness and humility. Through participation in meetings and volunteer work, the young women show dedication and maturation.

“I slowly turned into a social butterfly and became more confident,” McLemore said.

In addition to becoming more comfortable with herself and her environment, McLemore also gained a group of “sisters.”

Robertson-Crump agrees that they are a big family. 

“We get together to gain new experiences, focus on self and look toward the future while bonding with each other and having a great time,” she said.

Similar to the girls’ personal development, GGIIW is also expanding, and every year, the organization holds an event to celebrate its “birthday.” The annual anniversary celebration highlights the organization while honoring all participants involved in GGIIW and providing an opportunity to thank supporters who believed in the organization’s mission.

To purchase a ticket to the GGIIW anniversary celebration or to make a donation to the organization, email [email protected]