A Beautiful Farewell

Well, that most certainly was the fastest school year of my life! Where has the year gone?! It feels like just yesterday I was blogging about our Summer Retreat and showing y'all the new logo. But somehow, we've already arrived at the end. This past year of RISE like a girl has been nothing short of incredible and I have only positive things to say about it. To be honest, this post is difficult to write because I have some pretty sensitive news to share. I have made the decision to leave Houston and relocate to Washington, DC this summer. Unfortunately, that means saying goodbye to my school, the girls, their amazing families, and the current condition of RISE like a girl. I feel lucky that I've been blessed with so many wonderful people during my time in Houston that makes saying goodbye so incredibly hard. If you had asked me to take a look at the life that I have made for myself when I first moved here 3 years ago, I would have never believed you. I created something from my heart and pursued it all the way through. I never knew I had it in me. I've taught over 100 students and I've tried my hardest to form authentic relationships with all of them. I got to share my passion with 19 deserving young girls and transformed them into empowered, determined young women. The impact everyone has made on me was unexpected but wonderful. I am forever grateful. 

Knowing that I was leaving, I wanted to plan one last "hoorah" for the girls and I. On Friday, June 3 we had the first ever RISE like a girl Banquet. All 19 girls, along with their families, came out celebrate the conclusion of our two years together. Everyone got dressed up in order to make it extra special. Overall, it was a beautiful evening for us to enjoy our time together one last time. I am thankful that all nineteen girls were able to come and that we were able to spend such a special night together. The Banquet gave us the opportunity to reflect of everything we had learned together and celebrate how much we have grown along the way. 

I prepared a video for the girls to serve as not only a scrapbook of their 2 years but also as a commercial for RISE like a girl. As you know, RISE doesn't end here. We must share the message with others so that ultimately, all girls can have access to girl empowerment. 

The girls also received a gift from me! Each girl got a gold bracelet with word "RISE" on it to commemorate our club and all of the special memories we shared. I even have one too! My hope is that is serves as a friendship bracelet between us that no matter where we are, RISE like a girl will always bring us together.

My heart breaks at the thought of not seeing the beautiful, shining faces of my girls again. I sincerely hope that we'll be able to keep in touch and see each other again someday, but you just never know what life has in store. I love each and every one of my girls as if they were my own family. Although I started RISE to leave a mark on their life, they have made an even bigger mark on mine. My girls have taught me three things: 

1. Love deeper. 
These girls love like no other. Without judgement, without background, they just love. They love despite fear of getting hurt. They love even when others don't. They love because their heart is full of joy. They love without letting the big bad world around them bring them down. They shared their unconditional love with me and now it's time for me to share that same love with others. 

2. Girl empowerment is my purpose. 

Since day 1, my girls have soaked up every single thing I've ever told them. They listen, they absorb it, and they use it in the real world. Their analysis & discussion of the topics I address proves that what I'm teaching is meaningful. Their parents have told me that I have changed the trajectory of their daughters' lives. I feel most alive when I'm teaching girls to believe in themselves and own their power. The impact RISE has created has proven to me that doing what I'm doing is my ultimate purpose. Empowering young girls to rise above societal expectations is what I was put on this earth to do. 

3. Success is simple. 
I tell the girls (and my students too) that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to. "If you can dream it, you can achieve it" is a a quote I've said many times. But as adults, how often do we get stuck in the excuses? We devise every reason in the book as to why it's not the right time or the right place to make it happen. My girls have taught me that reaching your dreams is as simple as actually doing it. If they want something, they go after it right away. I don't need to wait until everything is perfectly aligned to how I imagined it in my head. It's always the perfect time to achieve my dreams. 

These girls will forever hold a huge piece of my heart. I love them like I've never loved anyone before. Although I will miss them greatly, there is no doubt in my mind that they will make me proud. 

So, what happens to RISE like a girl now? 

It's hard to give a confirmed answer to that but what I can say is this: This is only the beginning for us. We have places to go and girls to empower. I am confident that RISE like a girl has the potential to take over the world and share girl empowerment with everyone. I want all girls to have access to girl empowerment. All girls need to know that they are worthy of power, choices, and love. I had a great start but I'm ready to grow! I'm not sure exactly how or when but I know that I will keep pushing until I get there. For now, I have 5 confirmed new Chapter Leaders at 3 different schools next year. That is super excited news! And of course, I plan on starting a chapter at my new school sometime in the coming year. The future for RISE like a girl has only just begun. Follow along as we continue this beautiful journey! 

THANK YOU to everyone who has been a true supporter of my girls and I from the very beginning! We love you and appreciate you! New blog posts will start back up again in the Fall. Until then, follow our Facebook and Instagram. :) See you soon! 

1 comment :

  1. THANK YOU!!! Ms Martin for all your love to Isabel my baby, and sincerely wish you the BEST in your new chapter, we will never forget you, you'll be in our prayers allways, and as you said you leave a mark already in Isabel's heart. WE LOVE YOU!