Tiffany Pitts sees need, begins girls mentoring program
By Anna-Claire Terry
Girls STEPS (Supporting, Transforming, Empowering and Preparing for Success) Inc. is a mentoring program seeking to empower, inspire and motivate young girls in the Opelika and Lee County area to start thinking outside the box. According to Girls STEPS director and counselor at Auburn High School Tiffany Pitts, the program will use a four point system to instill various qualities in the girls: supporting, transforming, empowering and preparing.
A resident of Opelika and ‘95 graduate of OHS, Pitts started the program this year when she saw the need for a program that could present young girls with structure and provide then with opportunities to go out into society and be the best they can be. “I just want to provide them with opportunities that they wouldn’t have had had they not been involved with the program,” Pitts said. “I want it to be totally free of charge. That’s why I went through the process of making it 501 (c) (3).” Girls STEPS is open to girls in the third- 12th grades in Lee, Macon and Chambers counties. The Little Rocketts (grades 3-5) and the Rockets (grades 6-8) are anticipated to roll out during summer 2016. For now, focus is on the high school age. Pitts said about 75 girls are currently enrolled.
“I saw it as a need in the community for our girls. Television depicts girls as awful people who are always fighting all the time. I want them to see that they don’t have to follow that example,” she said. “I want them to see that they don’t have to go by the status quo, and I want them to be leaders in society. I think the only way to do that is to show them something different, and then the behavior will follow.”
Pitts credits her past work with the Lee County Youth Development Center with opening her eyes to the need for such a program. “Just from listening to the kids, I think that many of them may not have done whatever they did to get locked up if there had been more structure.” Pitts also wants to use this program to address healthy relationships and self-esteem.
A few of the many opportunities members will have are to be exposed to the arts, go on college visits, take educational courses, receive etiquette training and enjoy field trips.
Applications can be picked up at local schools and turned in to the school counselors or emailed to Pitts at GSTEPS15@gmail.com.
Donation checks can be made out to Girls STEPS Inc. and mailed to P.O. Box 655, Opelika, AL 36801. For more information, Pitts can be contacted at 334-697-GIRL.
“The purpose is to provide girls with a program where they can enjoy themselves, love themselves and prepare themselves to go out into society once they graduate from high school,” Pitts said.