A wise Metro Board member told us about two types of people at work: “jobs people” are those who may be perfectly great employees but for whom their work is, more or less , a job; and “BGCGW PEOPLE”, those who are passionate about what they do for your organization, deserving of celebration and investment. We could never hope to capture all the great BGCGW PEOPLE stories in this column but we will make a start!
Meet Monife Marshall, a BGCGW staffer for almost a decade, and a proud former member of the Acorn Street Boys & Girls Club in Springfield, MA. A dancer and yoga instructor, Monife (Moh-NEE–fay) has shared her talents with our kids from the moment she changed her life journey. What was the change? After graduating from Hampton University, traveling a bit and moving to DC, Monife went the corporate route with successful stints in finance, insurance and media. Successful but unfulfilling!
The words of her parents kept coming back to her: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” These words can be just a cliché, or one can actually dig down really deep and put them to work. For Monife, it was using her college degree and the skills she’d acquired to establish herself as a consultant in the non-profit community, creating strategic marketing plans, community collaborations and staff trainings. These activities led her back to the Clubs.
First up was bringing a dance program to the former Ballou Branch, which turned into a job as Education Director. The unanticipated Club closing in 2007 led to an opportunity as Program Director for S.H.I.N.E. (Shaping Healthy Identities Through New Experiences). Underwritten by a 300k grant, and offered at public and charter schools as well as in the Clubs, this program draws on BGCA’s SMART GIRLS evidence-based curriculum focused on avoiding teen pregnancy. Dealing with the critical issues of building self-esteem, resisting peer pressure, learning about puberty and HIV/AIDS, pre and post-test surveys show that participation does make a difference.
There’s one more thing that makes a difference, in our Members’ lives and in that of our staffers – passion. Monife has brought her passion for giving back into putting her own personal touch on expanding girls’ horizons with a diverse range of extra activities. Now in its 3rd year, the overnight “Girl Talk” Retreat exposes “tweens” to a different environment (like the Shenandoah Valley) where they can enjoy and appreciate nature while interacting with staff and other professional women who come in to speak about a variety of topics. “I want our girls to be empowered as they face the world with confidence”, says Monife. “The girls have shared with me that the memories and lessons they’ve learned from the Retreats have opened their eyes to new possibilities.”
In the very same way, we are delighted a career with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington became a possibility for Monife Marshall.