Written by Rebekah Whirlege, Editor of glo | Photo by Bonnie Manning, Feature Photographer
As executive director of Fort Wayne Girls Rock, Denita Washington aims to empower young ladies in grades six to 12 across the city through mentoring workshops. She wants them to believe that no matter where life has them, they have the ability to achieve academically, athletically and socially. “I was with East Allen County Schools and had been doing girls mentoring programs on small scale,” explained Denita, who will have completed a master’s degree in Educational Leadership once this article is published. “Once I would leave the school, the programs would no longer continue. That’s when I decided to create something that young ladies across the city could be involved in.” While she is a mentor to many young ladies now, Denita’s greatest mentor is her own mother. “She is a woman of virtue, love, loyalty and legacy. If you have ever left someone’s presence and feel like the weight of life has been lifted from their touch or words of comfort, that is what my mom is for me,” says the mother of two sons and grandmother of two granddaughters. “(She) planted in me the ability to speak words of affirmation, hope and life in to young ladies I mentor or meet in spite their right-now behavior.” If Denita could pass along a few words of wisdom to others, it would be an Audrey Hepburn quote: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible.’” “Sometimes the very thing we think we could never live without is the thing God says if you just let go and trust me, greatness is to follow,” says Denita. “Fort Wayne Girls Rock was actually birthed through the pain of (my divorce). I think taking something that could have destroyed me and turning it into strength and wisdom to help others has now become what I do with difficult, tough moments in my life.” For more information on the group, go to www.facebook.com/FortWayneGirlsRock.