JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Girls, Inc. of Jacksonville has been serving girls locally for more than 50 years. Its tagline: Strong, Smart and Bold is the goal for every girl served. The organization runs programming in six Duval County schools at all levels and when you see these young women coming you should always expect excellence.
Lania Flowers is a young artist and is also a member of Girls, Inc. at Ed White High School. She’s using her talent to not only live the message but inspire others to do the same. Her grandmother inspired her passion for art.
“When she passed, she had a will. And all her art stuff came to me it was like it was probably enough art stuff to last the whole lifetime,” says Flowers.
She left paint, brushes, clay, glue, scissors all to her granddaughter. Her grandma could create anything and she taught Lania at a young age that she could too.
“She’ll give us like cardboard boxes and stuff, have us cut it out and make fake food to play kitchen and stuff. And she always was showing us how to make things out of nothing,” says Flowers.
Now art is in her soul. Ed White High School has an exhibit to showcase Flowers’ work. Traci Battest is her principal.
”Oh my gosh, she is amazing. She’s an amazing young lady,” says Battest.
Flowers is also a member of Girls, Inc. of Jacksonville, so she’s not just an artist she is “Strong, Smart and Bold.”
”When we walk around here, we know we’re strong because we can use our voices, we can communicate with each other. We know we’re smart because you can be smart in your own way. You don’t have to be intellectually smart. You don’t have to be good at math, you don’t have to be good at reading, you can be smart, just by knowing what’s going on around you. And then well, we’re here to make a statement. We’re here to show everybody who we are, what we can do and how we can impact others around us,” Flowers said.
Darlene Vaughn, the executive director of Girls, Inc. Jacksonville, said mentor relationships are key.
”We do a lot of work to help girls to think about what’s keeping them stuck, or frustrated, or keeping them down or from reaching their highest selves. And what we can do to provide those strong relationships, those mentor relationships, provide the programming and the support they need to fly,” Vaughn said.
Flowers is soaring for a lot of reasons but this support helps lift her up just a little higher. For more than 50 years, Girls, Inc. has been doing that for hundreds of girls right here in Jacksonville and the family keeps growing.
“Our support is everything we wouldn’t be here without the support of our community and those that come alongside us to invest in our work in our girls, and the things that we do to help to develop our girls,” Vaughn said.
There is an opportunity to support Girls, Inc of Jacksonville. Dec. 3 they’re hosting a night of entertainment, a silent auction and sweet treats all in support of the girls. Tickets are $75 each. For more information go to https://www.girlsincjax.org/.