The Magnolia Project - Wilkes-Barre

In the Wilkes-Barre area, Volunteers of America presents The Magnolia Project.  The objective of this program is to empower young women in grades 9 - 12 as they navigate their high school years and cope with academic and non-academic challenges.

In weekly group sessions, the girls sit down with strong women in the community and hear their stories.  They are guided through activities that bring insight and awareness to them. The girls meet in their schools and at 60 S. Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, a downtown storefront that has been made into a comfortable, welcoming spot for them to hang out, learn, find safety and support and experience personal growth.

The wide-ranging discussions include ways to succeed in school, avoid high-risk behaviors, combat low self-esteem and bullying, communicate effectively, build their community, choose alternatives to gang involvement, build healthy relationships and handle peer pressure.  Discussions also deal with substance abuse, character building, personal resiliency, dealing with difficult people and situations, as well as managing stress and emotions. During the program, the girls start thinking about possible careers, pathways to college and ways to seek out professional role models.

The Magnolia Project works with area schools and community organizations to identify young women who are potentially at risk and could benefit from support and guidance from strong leaders and their community ties.  Magnolia mentors hone the students' leadership skills by exposing them to community leaders who will speak about their lives, pathways to success and life's challenges. 

This speaker series links the Magnolia girls with strong role models and a stable, positive support network, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

The goal is to serve 75 female students and expose them to prominent, successful women and other leaders who are willing to volunteer their time, stories and expertise.

Twelve selected students will be able to use their newly formed skills on The Magnolia Project Leadership Council and undergo additional leadership training.  By the end of the school year, they will host The Magnolia Project Leadership Conference at King's College.  The outcome is to have all Magnolia girls blossom as they develop skills that can make them feel empowered and ready to be the leaders of tomorrow.