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Bowling Green ASB – Hope B.

My experience at Gwen’s Girls was so much more than I expected. The facility is amazing and offers so many great things to these young girls. The staff here is wonderful and you can tell they are very passionate about what they are doing, especially Miss Ashley. I like that the environment is more like a family setting rather than a school setting and all of the girls are very comfortable with the staff. All of the girls have something special about them and I believe they will do great things. I am sad to leave Gwen’s Girls because it is such a great place and it really opened up my eyes to the other parts of the world that I’m not used to. This place is amazing and I hope in the future that there are many more places like this. I will always cherish my experience here! 🙂


Bowling Green ASB – Scott B.

My week at Gwen’s Girls was something, let me tell you. I spent my mornings cleaning the facilities and the afternoons having fun with the girls. We studied, we danced, and we played. I even learned how to whip and nae nae!

Overall, the experience was truly extraordinary. The girls at Gwen’s, both the staff and the students, are so inspiring, so welcoming, and so much fun to spend time with. I know that when the girls come to stay at Gwen’s Girls, they are treated with love and care. I’m so thankful that they have a place to receive that love and care like Gwen’s Girls– a place that will help rear them to become wonderful and strong women.


FedEx Cares

Our team for today is Carol Patton, Kristen Hansen, Dave Brown, Terri Runtas, Amber Rome, and Marie Blosser.

As we worked together today as part of FedEx Cares Day, we prepared to make the computer room a fresh new home for the 35 girls who use this daily. We scrubbed the floors, the shelving, the blackboard, the desks, window treatments and anything that needed to be cleaned.

We talked about making the room a place for fun, with crafty and original decorations. We wanted to make it a home for the girls and personal as well. This day gave us the opportunity to spend time outside of work, share our ideas and have fun together.

What a wonderful organization Gwen’s Girls is with the hope and love they provide in the Pittsburgh community! Thank you for allowing us to give back!

Marie Blosser — and the entire team!


Gwen’s Girls Story – Ashley

My name is Ashley and I am a former Gwen’s Girl. Gwen’s Girls is very welcoming and supportive. The first time I came, I was in Gwen’s Girls for about a week. I was about 6 months pregnant and all the staff and other girls there were very supportive. Even though I wanted to be home with my family, I enjoyed being around other teen girls going through the same problems as me.

About three months after I came back home, I was put into Shuman Center. My mother did not want me to go back home and I said if I could, I would like to go back to Gwen’s Girls. At this time, I was 9.5 months pregnant.

At Gwen’s Girls, Ms. Shelly helped me set up all my doctors’ appointments and get everything I needed. The staff made sure I was well taken care of. Also, Ms. Shelly helped me get into a program to get my G.E.D.

When I went into labor, I was still at the group home. I was nervous at first because I wasn’t with my family, but the staff helped me out a lot. Ms. C took me to the hospital and even waited with me until my family got there. After I left the hospital, I had to go back to Gwen’s Girls. Ms. C picked me up. She had moved me into another room and helped me with all my things when we got back there. She was very helpful and supported me with all my family issues. She was the best! I was at Gwen’s Girls for about three more weeks after I had my daughter. Everyone was very helpful and I really appreciated it. I came home, but I sometimes miss being there because I got so used to them.

Being at Gwen’s Girls taught me a lot. It made me realize I shouldn’t anything for granted. I learned to appreciate my family and the support I have around me because not everyone has that. They had taught me to be more independent and do more things on my own. I’m very thankful for the things I’ve learned from being there. I guess what I’m trying to say is Gwen’s Girls is a great place and they helped me with some important things in my life!


Love Languages

This week, the G.I.R.L.S. Club had a self-esteem speaker come in and talk with the girls about “love languages” and affirmation. This is an important factor for young girls because they often struggle with knowing how to get their needs met, and how to meet the needs of others, in both romantic and non-romantic relationships.

The speaker asked the girls to take a quiz on their love language, and all the results pointed to the girls having a high need for affirmation. The speaker explained that what these results told her was that the girls had a need for hearing encouraging and loving words. The speaker said that girls who score high in the affirmation division often give out affirmative responses to their friends and loved ones, and asked if this was true of our girls. To which the girls responded that they did.

However, when asked to give words of affirmation to their friends, the girls struggled. As I sat back and watched this exchange, two things came to my mind: one was that maybe the girls do know how to pass out affirmative words but did not want to do it under pressure. But the other option is that the girls may want to speak affirmative and encouraging words, but are not given them on a regular basis and therefore struggle giving them to others. Option two shows why Gwen’s Girls is so important – if a child is not receiving encouraging phrases at home at least they are exposed to it in a program like Gwen’s Girls where a seed can be planted and cultivated to help these girls learn such things.


St. John’s University Visit

On Tuesday night, the senior girls participated in a focus group about healthy and unhealthy relationships. During this session, the girls were encouraged to speak freely and openly about their ideas on relationships.

One idea they discussed was how to tell when relationships become unhealthy, and some of the ideas the girls came up with were possessiveness, abuse, and pressure. During the discussion the girls were asked what they think this kind of relationship could do to a girl’s self-esteem and they explained that it could cause doubt and depression. They then were asked to discuss what they could do if they began to feel this way, and the girls explained that they needed to seek help from friends, family members, church organizations, and people they look up to and trust.

After discussing negative relationships, the girls discussed positive relationships and what positive relationships did to their self-esteem and mental health. The girls said that it was nice to have support because it gave them confidence and made them feel good. The girls really opened up and enjoyed being able to talk to the group facilitators.



During the month of March, Gwen’s Girls had the opportunity to listen to a self-esteem/motivational guest speaker. This was not the first time that speaker has been here, but the girls enjoyed her just as much as they did during her previous visits.

This guest speaker had the girls discuss the importance of valuing themselves and the value of setting goals for themselves and their lives. After the discussion, the girls worked on vision boards that they could hang in their rooms or in the Gwen’s girls building as a reminder to themselves of who they want to become and how they want the world to view them.

Each girl let her creativity shine through this piece of work. All of the boards said positive things such as “dream big” and “set your goals high.” Every board touched at least one of the 10 Life Domains, but many focused on leadership development, and how they could better the world.


Fun Fest Excitement

For one of our outings this April, the girls traveled to Harmar Township, PA, and got to enjoy time at Fun Fest. Here at Fun Fest the girls participated in laser tag, bowling, and arcade games. I along with one of the staff had the chance to go in and watch the girls in the laser tag room and I can say it was priceless. These girls were having such a good time, running around, acting like spies and even singing the James Bond theme song.

The girls had a blast doing every event, but seemed to enjoy the laser tag most of all. When asked what it was that they liked so much about it they explained that they “liked the black lights and the music” as well as “it was fun pairing up with people and making teams.” This was a great way for the girls do have a fun time and to let loose.


Spring Time, Fun Time

With Easter right around the corner, what better way is there to celebrate than with an Easter egg hunt? The week before Gwen’s Girls Spring break, an Easter egg hunt was held for our girls around our building. All of the girls participated and had a great time finding the eggs and getting prizes at the end.

The girls were given candy, lotion, head bands and jewelry for participating. Each group was asked to search for certain colored eggs, so every girl was able to get something. Not only did the girls have a blast, but the staff and interns had a lot of fun watching the girls run around and help one another find eggs. One of the staff members laughed at the girls’ enthusiasm and said, “It’s like Christmas morning – all this hype and within a little bit it’s over,” but the girls’ enthusiasm lasted the rest of the night.


Healthy Eating

This week, one of our interns decided to do a lesson on healthy eating and good nutrition, giving the girls a chance to discuss what kinds of foods they eat on a daily basis. This discussion was “a lot of fun” and allowed the girls the chance to find out more interesting facts on the food we eat.

After the discussion, the girls participated in an activity where they put soda on the stove and boiled the water off, which resulted in a thick, sticky syrup. This allowed our girls to see what they put into their bodies when drinking this kind of beverage. During the activity there were many exclamations of ”Eww!!” and “Gross!!”. One of our girls even stated “I’m going to stop drinking pop.”

Once the girls viewed this activity they had the chance to participate in making a healthy alternative food choice: fruit salad. The girls really liked the bright colors and loved eating it. This activity was a great way to incorporate our health and wellness life domain and allowed the girls the chance to see the importance of healthy eating.

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