What happens when you bring together a group of energized, engaged, passionate, and brave young women? Answer: Total. World. Domination. At least that’s the way it feels to the members of our IATG Local Chapters. In a short time, we’ve taken our Local Chapters global with more than 60 chapters of fantastic, mobilized girls performing inspired personal and community work in nooks of the world from Chicago, IL and Los Angeles CA to Lyon France and Lutske Ukraine to name a few. This month we’re aiming the spotlight on IATG Local and hearing from some of the many, many voices that have joined together to grow the love, spirit, and power of the IATG nation!
Each chapter helps create a safe and supportive space for girls and young women to convene, connect, and deepen their relationships. They are also opportunities to have fun—many chapters host social events such as an evening out at a local Paint Bar—and get mobilized. Community involvement is another big part of IATG Local. There is a call to action that extends beyond helping girls and young women cultivate authentic, healthy self-worth to acting as a positive influence on the greater community. Some of the activities chapters have participated in include: a Diva Dash running race, Love Your Body events on college campuses, and helping to raise awareness during National Eating Disorder week.
The lovelies of Lyon, France!
Kate Poppe, Program Director of IATG Local, says that one of the most rewarding parts of coordinating chapters and helping girls launch and grow chapters is seeing the direct effect it has on each individual: “I love giving girls the opportunity to connect with others girls who want to make an impact and are determined to make changes in their lives and in the community. I want to give that opportunity to as many girls as possible!” She is not alone in feeling uplifted and motivated by what happens on the IATG Local scene.
Please take a minute to read these AH-mazing testimonials by some of our fantastic chapter leaders and hear what they have to say about what being a part of IATG Local means to them and how it has changed their lives:
“I have learned that I am not in competition with other girls but we are in the same team. I have learned that I can wake up everyday and choose to be grateful and happy or choose to be bad. This is my life. To judge someone will not make me a better person. The more I have learned is to work on me to be the better version on myself. I have learned that dreaming and believeing in me is the most important thing!” -Charlotte Dutruc-Laputraz, Chapter Leader IATG France.
"IATG local has helped me empower girls in my community. I have only lived in Boise for a short time and didn't know many people so it was the perfect way to make new connections and friendships and talk about things that matter. IATG gives you the chance to empower others, network with like-minded people, and grow as an individual. Starting a local chapter was one of the best things that I have ever done!" -Ryan Roberts, Chapter Leader Boise Idaho
“Making the decision to found and lead I AM THAT GIRL: Boston College was one of the best decisions of my life. I first discovered the national organization in high school when I was working through my own struggles with body image. Having I AM THAT GIRL as a continual source of inspiration was incredible. Leading IATG: BC and working to change the nationwide statistic that college women leave their alma mater less confident than when they enter college is personal to me. I have learned a lot about my capabilities as a leader in my community, as well as my role as a team player behind such an important social cause. I've learned the true meaning of support. Facilitating connections between women that are on the same team has been rewarding to say the least. IATG: BC meetings are the best part of my week, and I strongly believe that having conversations that matter is the first step in making a difference. I know what it is like to feel like you're the only one going through something. However, in helping to build an amazing community of support here at BC - no one has to feel that way anymore. That is a beauty-full thing!” –Abbey Clark, Chapter Leader IATG Boston College
Fearless IATG Co-Founder Emily Greener HEARTS Local!
“When we started the I AM THAT GIRL: San Diego Chapter I didn't really know what to expect. I was very focused on how to get girls to want to come and how to get the most girls in the least amount of time. I had never tried to start an organization, business, group and I am very competitive so I was very focused on the number. In my mind more girls equals more success. I think because my attention was dedicated to making our chapter huge, I was less successful in encouraging girls to join in the beginning. It felt fake, overly excited, and unnatural. After a few meetings of allowing other girls to just talk and share their stories, I realized that it didn't matter the size of the group as long as the girls who came WANTED to be there. Our local chapter is keeping me grounded. I do not need to focus on the number of members. There isn't anyone to compete with! I am focusing on the individuals who come because they will focus on who they think will benefit from I AM THAT GIRL. I am learning to lead by paying attention to those who need me and sharing my natural excitement with the world.” –Jennie Campbell, Chapter Leader San Diego CA
Check out this love from IATG South Africa!! Woot!
“I wouldn't trade being a chapter leader for the world. I ultimately get an opportunity to sit with a group of ladies and get the privilege to learn from them. The experience is literally life altering - I think from a different perspective, I've learned to be more open as a woman and as a result feel less judged. If you're considering starting a chapter I would encourage every person whose heart is in the right place. There can be obstacles, but why should that hold anyone back from starting a positive conversation for other women?!! We all need it.” –Lindsey Taub, Chapter Leader IATG New York
"IATG has given me the opportunity to meet amazing girls from all walks of life, each of them with unique and inspiring stories and ideals. Having a leadership position has given me more confidence in my ability to lead group discussions and share parts of myself to new and old friends. Having the privilege of meeting with these girls once a week, always gives me something to look forward to. No matter what topic we are discussing I know that I will leave feeling refreshed and inspired. I wholeheartedly believe that every girl can benefit from joining or leading a chapter. You gain so much from IATG and the only thing you have to be willing to do is open up to a group of girls who will be immensely accepting and supporting." -Haley Mann, Chapter Leader Greensboro NC
“Being a co-leader of IATG Boston makes me feel so proud. I am proud of the work we have done. I am proud of my evolution of a person. I am proud of the conversations we can create a safe space to be had. I am appreciative of the work I get to do with amazing women and the knowledge and insights that I have learned because of them. Our chapter has made a huge impact on me, personally. It came at a time where I so desperately needed the support and strength (due to a relationship situation). It was almost like a guardian angel in a way and came when I most needed it and I cant imagine my life without it. The group is still small, and we have only had one community event, but every time someone new joins a meeting I typically get a phone call saying how much they enjoyed it.” –Jessica Scire, Co-Leader IATG Boston
IATG Boston rocking Paint Night!
“If you want to step away from the drama and gossip of the world, meet new people, learn more about your closest friends and feel constantly supported..there is no better place for you than at an IATG meet-up. Your voice is heard and even if others see things differently you are never judged or put down. You are inspired and encouraged and from a bond that is indescribable with every girl who comes to an IATG chapter meeting.” –Bailly Shuster, Chapter Leader Baltimore
"Running a local chapter has meant everything to me. It has meant healing broken hearts and minds and sharing stories and secrets with people I thought I knew. These people I thought I knew were friends, some of them I've known since 6th grade. They opened up and shared insecurities, heartbreaks, tears, laughter, and (most importantly) love. They have become my family. We all rely on each other for anything and everything. I have never experienced anything like it." -Kaitlyn Phillips, Chapter Leader Broomfield CO
"I look out for girls any age and try to be as helpful as I can, because I know how it feels to be at the bottom and especially how good a helping hand in that situation can feel like. IATG brought to my attention something I always knew but wasn't really aware of, that we all have feelings and even if somebody is in a crappy mood they might still need somebody to tell them how great they are, hug them, or just wish them an awesome day. Sometimes that is all it needs to get somebody right back on track." -Mirja Wilde, Chapter Leader Kiel Germany
“IATG has greatly affected me as a leader. I have improved my skills at leading others as well as accepting others' differences. IATG is a phenomenal organization that seeks to change the world. IATG is an organization that guilds character as lasting bonds. Every girl should be apart of this organization because it definitely helps with every problem girls face as they mature into women.” –Taylor Reyes, Chapter Leader UCF Orlando FL
Awesome! Inspired to start your own chapter? Looking for a chapter you can join? Give a shout out to Kate Poppe, Local Program Director: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will steer you in the right direction! Thanks to all our lovelies who gave their time and voices to this piece and to all the #beautyFULL girls in EVERY chapter! You ROCK!
IATG Boston at the Diva Dash!