Kama Burton heard that girls were getting into fights at school. The fights were so frequent that they disrupted the school day for most of the students, many of whom came from low-income backgrounds. Some were foster kids; others were caregivers to younger siblings while their parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet.
School should be a safe haven, thought Burton, AHWD, SFR, C2EX, broker-owner of CMB Realty Services in Moreno Valley, Calif. So, she launched Girls Club through her nonprofit, Loving Me 1st, to give young girls a safe space to express themselves and connect with each other. Time to themselves without stressful obligations helps them to regroup and consider what they want for their lives, Burton says. She uses inspirational speakers and relationship-building exercises to help instill a sense of self-worth and confidence in Girls Club participants.
“[School] principals found that the number of [violent incidents] decreased, which allowed all students to attend school stress-free,” Burton says of the impact of her program on the community. She adds that Girls Club helps youth “become more aware of who they are” and realize their potential.
Since its inception in 2015, Girls Club has expanded to serve 15 area schools and girls in fourth through 12th grades. It’s also grown in its offerings from an in-school session to conferences, learning sessions and field trips. The events are free for the girls to attend. “This year, we had our 1st Annual Entrepreneurship Conference and our 7th Annual Girls Conference,” Burton says. The theme of this year’s Girls Conference, which drew 225 young participants and their families, was “I Matter.”
Ultimately, Girls Club aims to give a dose of confidence to girls who don’t necessarily realize their potential or what’s possible for them. They need a helping hand from someone who cares and sees their worth, Burton says. She’s seen participants stop fighting with each other and set their sights on helping each other create brighter futures for themselves. Her proudest moment, Burton says, is watching young members of the club grow and go off to college.
Learn more about Burton and other REALTORS® who are doing extraordinary things to give back to their communities on the REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors Facebook page.