CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Maddie Anders and Samantha Gilbert of Bethesda, Maryland, have recently embarked on a new adventure that has taken them far beyond their years.
It’s called Girls for the Future, and they’ve led some 20 workshops for elementary school girls, many of them from low-income areas, on a wide range of career-related topics, reaching kids from coast to coast in the process. Their work inspiring and empowering the girls makes them our Hometown Heroes.
“We chose topics that are normally underrepresented in women, Gilbert explains. “So, cybersecurity, networking, the U.S. government, online safety and money management. And we think it’s really important for girls to know it and be inspired to make changes in these fields.”
Anders and Gilbert began their Girls for the Future work early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when, Anders explains, “we were all still stuck at home.” They were also influenced by what Anders calls “the re-uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“Sam and I were really inspired to do something for change. And that’s now spread to all girls and not just girls of color,” she adds.
The Hometown Heroes have been moved by the native curiosity of the girls who have attended their workshops.
“They’re really just looking to gain general knowledge, and it’s just really nice to have them wondering more. What is investing, what is a consumer, what is a producer? It’s really just great to have kinds of questions from all kinds of girls.”
Their Girls for the Future work has also strengthened the bond between Gilbert, who hopes to one day be a doctor, and Anders, who’s eyeing a career in finance or business. They want to have an impact as adults, and they’ve gotten off to a good start.
“Just inspiring the younger generation is, I think, so important to me and Maddy, knowing that we are making a change,” Gilbert explains. “We are affecting these girls’ lives in something that can’t be taken for granted.”