Ten years ago, Ebony was an eighth grader who joined Crittenton Services of Greater Washington’s SNEAKERS program looking for answers to her questions about the changes taking place in her body and life. Today, she is “giving back” as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia.
According to Ebony, “The confidence I gained in SNEAKERS has helped me in all that I do now. I have been living in Zambia for a year serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in health education in rural communities. My project has focused on the empowerment of women and girls. I have been working with my community to increase literacy among adult women, improve health care for pregnant women and children, and empower young girls to make positive choices regarding sex and education.”
“Starting in the eighth grade and continuing through high school, the SNEAKERS program could not have come at a better time. During those years, life was hard to understand. We were all trying to learn who we were and to embrace and love ourselves. Participants in our group represented a variety of backgrounds and life circumstances. We learned to care for and be considerate of one another as we demystified the stories we heard about relationships, sex and being a teenage girl. SNEAKERS was the place where, with the support of a caring, non-judgmental adult, we could talk about that and get real answers and suggestions on how to handle life. We learned to be loving, responsible, reliable, confident women who make healthy life choices and have a network of friends who will see us through the hard times.”
The ultimate test of any program’s effectiveness is its lasting impact. Crittenton Services of Greater Washington’s SNEAKERS program changed Ebony’s life; and now, she is sharing what she learned and helping to change the lives of other women and girls.