"They feel a sense of pride for someone to take the time to care about their lives."
Marilyn Chisolm, 49, of Columbia, SC, oversees her ministry's chapter of GoGirlGo!, a national initiative of the Women's Sports Foundation to improve girls' health and self-esteem through physical activity.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Our GoGirlsGo! educational program is designed to help build our youth's self esteem. Our goals are to learn leadership, positive body images, sports activities, and how to communicate with one another. We are also teaching our youth about financial literacy. We want them to learn how to be responsible teens and know the importance of having and saving money. Our goals also are to help them maintain sobriety and stay away from the wrong crowds of people.
What is the name and location of the organization?
We are Chisholm Outreach Ministries, Inc. We have two locations: One is located in Swansea, SC, in Lexington County, and the other location is in Columbia, SC.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Our project is designed to strengthen our youth. There are about 12 activities we have lined up for the year of 2006 for our youth to get involved. They can participate in basketball, baseball, volleyball, skating, and teamworking activities, so no child can be left behind.
What inspired you to get involved?
We have about 40 kids in our neighborhood and churches. When school is out, they go home and sit in front of the TV or the Play Station, or they're on the telephone conversing about things of no effect. We see the weight gain in our youth from having nothing to do and nowhere to go. It entered our minds that we could make a difference in the lives of these youth, so we decided to come up with a plan of success.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
I first got involved at home. It started with my own grandchildren, and it went on to their friends, then our Sunday school kids, then among the kids in our communities.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Just seeing the results this program is doing for our youth.
What is/was the hardest part?
The hardest part about this experience is not having the transportation and more space for this program and more help.
What was the biggest surprise?
Our youth are so motivated, and they are so excited about this program. They feel a sense of pride for someone to take the time to care about their lives.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
I've learned that to make a difference in someone's life is what it's all about. It's changed me in that I just want to do more and more to make a difference in the lives of these youth.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Please get involved. The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Let's join together and make this world a better place for our youth.
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