These three women explain why they were motivated to make a difference in the lives of children in the Queen City, the state of Ohio, and beyond.
Doris Thomas, Founder, Never The Less, Inc.
“One of my usual Sundays sitting in church service, I experienced a spiritual eye-opening. An audible sound in my spirit said, “Go and tell them that I hear them, I see them, they are not forgotten, and they are never the less.” I just knew it was meant for girls without it being said. After that, my only thoughts have been on that vision. All of our programs are intentionally named: “Never Again” for girls in detention/transitional living; “Kuhla” (Zulu meaning “thrive”) for girls in grades 4–8; “Jumpstart Your Future” for girls in grades 9–11. The sessions focus on objectives like character, values, choices, stress management, commitment, communication, and interpersonal skills. My heart goes out most for girls in the system—low-level offenders, wards of the state, undereducated, undeserved—but all girls don’t experience or fit into the same categories. Just because one is living in seemingly comfortable conditions doesn’t mean all is well mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. She could be secretly being bullied or body shamed, have low self-esteem or dyslexia, suffer from abuse of many types, have relationship issues, or have to care for siblings with no free time of her own, causing anger issues. Our mission is to inspire, motivate, and empower girls to walk confidently into their futures.”
Jenny Brady, Founder, Day of the Girl
“I started Day of the Girl 10 years ago to commemorate the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child (October 11). The idea was to create a local event to raise awareness of the challenges (oppression, inequality, violence, lack of access to education and economic opportunity) that women and girls face worldwide and to celebrate the unique potential of women and girls to address those challenges and ultimately change the world for the better for all people. Day of the Girl informs and inspires the next generation of innovators and leaders. We want all participants to know they are valued. We have reached over 1,000 people on a $0 budget through an all-volunteer led initiative. I want to see Day of the Girl grow as a collective impact movement that will continue to galvanize enthusiasm for goals to better people’s lives. I want to continue to showcase the exemplary leadership of women and girls and inspire all people to reach their full potential; and to ultimately address large, complex problems confronting the world from inequality to climate change. I would like to strengthen Day of the Girl through future engagement, connection and collaboration of individuals, organizations and the community locally in Cincinnati and internationally.”
Diane Egbers, Grant Us Hope
“I founded Grant Us Hope out of a deep passion to find answers after losing our son, Grant, to suicide in 2015. My grief catapulted me into a search to uncover the reasons why “we”—me as his parent, our health systems, our school systems, and society as a whole—failed to help him. He was desperately sick, and we weren’t able to help him in time. I needed to find and implement a program that would change the game in supporting youth mental health and suicide prevention. I wanted to build a team dedicated to changing the cultural stigma in our schools. I needed to create new ways to support and provide resources for parents of children who are struggling. Since 2016, we have implemented Hope Squads in nearly 200 schools across Ohio and growing. By equipping youth to be leaders and helpers and teaching them how to appropriately share life-saving information, Hope Squads have become a game changer. This innovative peer-to-peer model is empowering youth to lead the way. Our Hope Squad kids are absolutely amazing. They truly are saving lives. There are 7,000 schools across Ohio. Our goal at Grant Us Hope is to eventually have Hope Squads in every Ohio school and beyond, serving and helping as many kids as possible.”