Dear Girls

School has been over for about a week and a half now. I'm aware that the start of summer break is exciting to most people and while I am happy that it's summertime, I would be lying if I said I wasn't heartbroken as well. Since my very first day as a teacher three years ago, I have poured every ounce of my heart into my work & my students. In the beginning it was hard to stop thinking about them. I spent all of my extra money on just-because gifts, I missed them terribly on weekends & holiday breaks, and I told them everything about my life. They truly felt like my best friends. I know that sounds silly, but it's true. Although I wasn't quite as obsessed with my subsequent classes, I most definitely developed a love for them similar to that of a family's love. I love all 100 of my past students like I imagine a mother loves her children. The past three years have given my life more value and purpose than I ever knew possible. My students have taught me that my reason for being on this earth is to share my love to people like them. So, it's not surprising that the start of summer is always difficult for me. Where do I find my purpose when I don't have a group of little ones counting on me every day? But the most heartbreaking thing of all is saying goodbye to my girls. The girls & their families have been there for me since the inception of RISE like a girl. They believed in me, supported me, and encouraged me to work ten times harder each and every day. Those 19 girls are my everything. To be honest, I'm scared about the future of RISE because I'm unsure if I'll ever have a group of girls that are as wonderfully passionate as my first group. I can't imagine how they could ever be replicated. I wish that I could be there for them as they grow up, help them through the hard times, and celebrate their successes. I am deeply saddened by the reality that it will never be the same. I sincerely hope they keep in touch with me but even if they don't, I will never forget the lasting imprint they have made on my heart. 

To cope with what I've been feeling lately, I have written a letter to the girls to show my gratitude. 

Dear girls, 

Thank you for making these last two years the best years of my life. You are some of my favorite people on the planet. You make me feel so loved and cared for every single day and I hope I have given you that same feeling in return. As you know, I am only 25 years old so I'm still learning & growing all the time. You girls have taught me more than I taught you. The light that each of you radiate from within is inspiring. I aspire to be more and more like you all every day. 

I started RISE for several reasons. Firstly, I have felt a calling for helping girls since I was 18 years old. Secondly, I don't want any girl to feel as insecure and weak as I felt growing up. Lastly, I wanted to provide a feminist based education like I received in college but on a level that young girls can understand too. From the very beginning, you girls have soaked it all up. You've not only listened, but you've actually been able to apply what you've learned in your own lives. All of you go above & beyond in everything you do - I'd like to think I had a little something to do with that! But in all seriousness, I couldn't be prouder of you all. My heart melts whenever I see you interacting with friends & teachers and hearing about how you met your academic goals. I am honored to be able to watch you grow. Thank you for blessing me with your presence week after week and pouring every ounce of your love onto me. It's because of YOU that I have become the person I am today. You make me a better person and you are my reason for working hard every day. 

I want you to know that no matter how old you are and no matter what you're doing, I would stop the world to help you. I love you all unconditionally like the little sisters I never had. You will forever be my family. I sincerely hope that wherever our live take us, you'll remember me and keep in touch. But most importantly, I hope you always remember what I taught you. I hope you always remember that you are enough. I hope you remember that no matter what someone says about you, only you know the truth. I hope you never forget how strong you truly are even when someone (especially boys) let you down. And lastly, I hope that you never fail to use your voice loud & proud when someone is trying to steal your power. Remind yourself of what's important and love yourself first.

I am so proud of you and I will continue to love & support you forever. I am always in your corner. 

All my love, 
Ms. Martin 


  1. Aww! That is a so beautiful letter for the girls, I'll print ir, and put it on Isabel's Kipp Shine album memories, so she can read it any time she want, Thank you Ms Martin for ever, don't be scared that the girls would forget about you, they will never forget you, I'm sure of that, :)

  2. We will print it out too! Forever family! We will definitely keep in touch! We miss you already! You have have inspired our girls as well as us as parents! You are simply amazing! Much love to you! <3 Amy, LaMont, and MaKayla