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After Destiny’s parents separated, she felt angry and frustrated. She took her emotions out on her mother and withdrew from her friends. One day, her mom enrolled her in the Ruth K. Solomon Girls Program so she could spend time with other young women.

“I got involved in Solomon in fourth grade, but at first, I didn’t want to come here,” Destiny said.

Destiny remembers being shy and depressed for years, especially once her parents were no longer together. For a long time, she blamed her mother for the separation.

“I had to overcome not having my dad around,” Destiny says. “I feel like it really messes up kids when they don’t have two parents in a structured home.”

Even though the Ruth K. Solomon Girls Program helped Destiny better interact with her peers overall, she faced daily struggles as she got older. Once she hit high school, other girls started bullying her.

“I got in so many fights,” Destiny recalls. She didn’t want to fight with anyone, but at a certain point she felt like she had to do it to defend herself.

But despite the constant bullying, Destiny kept her head held high.

“When people bullied me, it only made me stronger,” Destiny says. She realized that it did not matter what others said; it only mattered what she thought about herself.

Now, Destiny has grown into a well-rounded young woman with strong ambitions. She’s currently taking Certified Nursing Assistant classes and wants to become a traveling nurse.

She also works for the Ruth K. Solomon Girls Summer Enrichment Academy as a counselor and spends time with their five, six, and seven-year-old girls. From June to August, girls now have an opportunity to learn and grow from each other while focusing on education, arts, and leadership. Destiny’s favorite part of working with them is seeing the smiles on their faces.

“When they’re happy, I’m happy,” she says. “I know there are a lot of girls here who are not going home to happiness, so I do everything I can to make them happy.”

Destiny encourages everyone to get involved in the Summer Enrichment Academy. “It’s very, very great for all girls. I think more people should come here.”