hereforthegirls | I Am Here for the Girls
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, June 22, 2017 | More Post by

Victoria Riley is our Business Development and Operations Manager. Here’s why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Victoria is pictured here on the left — she’s hard to recognize when she’s in disguise!

Being here for the girls started as a family affair back in 2008. My mom, who was volunteering at the time, asked my sister and I to help out. We were both undergraduates in college and until that point had only been volunteers to fulfill requirements for school. It was not until then that I realized what it meant to serve others.

Over the next eight years, I helped out here and there in various ways. In 2016, with the support of my husband, we turned our lives upside down and relocated to Williamsburg, VA. I accepted a full-time position with the organization. Since then, I have gained a new perspective of what it means to wake up each day and go to work. I am not here to punch in a clock and to collect a paycheck, but rather to support young women. The behind the scenes work, where I typically find myself on a day-to-day basis, keeps me going especially after losing three women in my first year.

The love, support, and togetherness displayed has been that of true sisters, much like the love, support, and togetherness shared with my own. We fight everyday because they fight everyday. That is why I am here for the girls.

, June 08, 2017 | More Post by

Colleen, on left with white top and blonde hair, with women who attended her session at the 2017 Renew, Restore, Retreat.

Colleen led our session on self-care at our 2017 Renew, Restore, Retreat. Here’s why she is “Here for the Girls”:

When I was asked to be a speaker at the 2017 Annual Retreat Weekend for Here For The Girls, my heart responded with a resounding ‘YES!’ Why am I ‘here for the girls’? I strongly believe all women are radiant, powerful and alluring creatures. Born with an intuitive wisdom and the innate sense to lead with their hearts, women have incredible power. And when women come together, combining those forces, something truly magical happens.

For ages women have circled together, in sisterhood, to inspire and encourage one another. In our world today, these circles, these support systems are more important and more needed than ever. Our culture, the stress of the daily grind, disease, abuse and competition have dimmed our feminine light and caused us to forget our innate gifts as women. But I’ve come to see that sometimes all it takes is a little reminder, a whisper, a gentle touch on the shoulder from a sister who cares to reignite that undeniable spark within and illuminate a fiercely radiant woman.

The immensity of women’s love, their capacity for hope, the resilience of their hearts never ceases to amaze me. Being surrounded by 80+ Boobers! at the retreat weekend, I was reaffirmed of this magic. Throughout the weekend, these women transformed before my eyes, fueled by sisterhood and their own inner flame. Given the permission to shine these women were ablaze. They were so full of life, love, light and joy – truly radiant beings. Being in their presence was such a gift, a true honor. Seeing their greatness reminded me of my own.

Sometimes all you need is support, someone to recognize you, to see you for who you truly are, to show you their true self so you know it’s okay to be your most authentic self. Sometimes all you need to hear is that you are beautiful, that you are strong… appreciated…loved.  And sometimes it’s just that arm around your shoulder, letting you know that you’re going to be alright, that is all you really need. And that is what Here for the Girls is all about. They aren’t here to save or fix anybody. They are here to acknowledge each other as complete and perfect beings just as they are. It’s a place to feel honored, to feel loved, to feel empowered. It’s a place to raise each other up, a place to rise above all that life throws your way. Here for the Girls cultivates and nourishes a genuine sisterhood, which in my opinion is a force to be reckoned with. I am here for the girls, and always will be.

, May 15, 2017 | More Post by

Dave is a husband to one H4TG staff member, father to another. Here’s why he is “Here for the Girls”:

Beyond Boobs! has recently evolved into Here for the Girls in what has been an amazing transformation from a grassroots organization in Williamsburg started by two visionary survivors into a powerful voice for women’s health with a rapidly expanding national presence.

My personal attachment to this worthwhile cause has primarily been through the eyes of my wife Chris, who is the Managing Director at Here for the Girls. From the moment she first started volunteering for this grassroots cause to when she took over a leadership role in the organization, I have witnessed first-hand the impact it has had on her overall perspective towards life.

Coming from a tunnel vision approach to life as a private grade school principal, which is what is needed to get that job done in that work environment, she has been able to completely expand her horizons in her role with Here for the Girls. This personal and professional growth has been benefited Chris and myself as well as our life together.

I am extremely proud to be part of an organization that knows how to live its vision and mission statement every single day of the year.

, March 17, 2017 | More Post by

Ola Onawole is our Not-Your-Typical Support Systems Program Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

I grew up in a house full of girls. My mother, Wanda, was my favorite girl. She was everyone’s favorite. She would smile so widely and brightly. She would dance in a way that welcomed joy into the room. She would cook in a way that pushed both hunger and sadness out the door. She would pick up folks from off of tough city corners and down-on-their luck avenues. The girl was friendly; the girl was kind; the girl was popular for being the fresh comfort our whole community needed.

She taught us about something I like to call exaltation or celebration.It wasn’t something she said out loud. She taught us in the ways that she danced and in the ways that she laughed. She taught us in the ways that she cooked and befriended people.

We learned that this girl made it her daily goal to provide us (insert her children, her friends, her community) with:

    • 1. a feeling or state of extreme happiness.

By:

    • 2. the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character

Not to mention:

      • the action of praising someone or something highly

So even when she was awaiting breast surgery in the hospital bed, she encouraged her 5 year old daughter to have a balloon party.

She was the ultimate party host in the way she invited guests to live life to their fullest potential and feel elevated every moment they spent in her presence.

So even when we lost her physical life to the cancer, there was this huge party of a funeral. The church was filled and People lined up outside. Everyone whispered about their friend Wanda who lifted them up higher than they could ever imagine. She was the girl of our dreams.

Wanda taught me the art of celebrating people. When I started working for  Here for the Girls, I knew I’d found a new group of party girls. Girls who wanted to dance in the wake of their pain. Girls who needed a band leader. Girls who needed lifting up, encouragement, and downright positive praise.

This is certainly the place for it. In the faces of the staff and volunteers, I see reflections of Wanda. Staff and volunteer girls who are supporting the valuable mission of this organization with power and passion. In the faces of the young women diagnosed with breast cancer, I see reflections of Wanda. The girls who are celebrating life and smiling in the midst of illness.

Wanda is right here when I’m with the girls, and I’m here for her. I’m here for the girls.

, March 09, 2017 | More Post by

Vicki Vawter is our Events and Community Relations Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Why am I here? I am here for the girls because I love finding ways for ordinary connections can turn into extraordinary ones.

I love when a business owner says ‘Yes! I want to help your efforts’, I love finding new ways they can help us and also recognize them for their generosity.

I love recruiting volunteers to help us in the office and at various events. It’s awesome to see how much the community wants to join us in our efforts and help us to pull off big events as well as small ones. Whether its handing out water to runners at our annual 5K/10K or addressing thank you notes, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.

I love when a single encounter or introduction turns into that person becoming a life-long friend to us. Maybe that friend ends up organizing their own fundraiser one day, or tells their best friend about us when they are diagnosed and don’t know where to turn. Or maybe they become a board member, or decide to sponsor a signature event.

I love coordinating new ways for our women to connect with each other. Perhaps at a fundraiser, wellness expo, speaking engagement, or event they meet someone new who has been down the same road as they have. Often times women find that they meet by ‘accident’ and then become best friends.

I love when a survivor goes to social media and says to her sisters on a private page, “I just can’t post this to everyone, but I knew you all would understand….” She tells of her fears, of her scars, or her loneliness. And within minutes, women she may have never met are offering their encouragement, their virtual hugs, and their cheers of

“You’ve got this!”
“We’re here for you!”
“You’re beautiful.”

I love that because of us, miracles can happen. Smiles can happen. Hope happens.
I am here for the girls.

, February 20, 2017 | More Post by

My name is Robin and I am a Board Member and also a volunteer for Here For the Girls. I am not a Boober!; never had breast cancer; have no immediate or even distant relatives who have had breast cancer. I have, however, watched several co-workers and the wife of a good friend die from this horrific disease. My husband Steve is also a very active volunteer and supporter of Here For the Girls. He sports a pink ribbon tattoo and is thrilled to answer when someone asks why. The assumption is always he has lost a mother/wife/sister/daughter to breast cancer. Nope to all. In addition, we have pulled in our daughter Kari and son-in-law John as volunteers for H4TG!

Our relationship with Beyond Boobs! began five years ago. As the charity of choice for Steve’s motorcycle club, we sometimes spent 12 hours a day on the weekends raising money at every fair and festival during the spring and summer. Nothing better than a bunch of bikers sporting pink tutu’s and boas, asking folks to support an organization called Beyond Boobs! Some of the ensuing conversations were priceless!! The money raised by the motorcycle club funded a Beyond Boobs! Retreat for the Boobers. I was honored to be asked to be a “kitchen fairy” at one of these retreats (and continue to do so) and I can honestly say it changed my life.

During that first retreat, I watched the ladies attend seminars on topics such as healthy eating, painting, aroma therapy, exercise, team building on the beach, etc. Some of these warriors were going through chemo, which had left them bald and ill; some were 2 years out; some 10 years out. They laughed, cried, sang, hugged, yelled, – and jumped in the cold Atlantic Ocean, after dark, holding onto each other – 30 strong! I will never, ever forget the joy and laughter on their faces as they ran back into the house; wet, cold; but fully and totally alive. It was during this retreat that it dawned on me that these were young women in the prime of their lives, hit with devastating news, yet living and loving like all of us should be doing. Feeling sorry for themselves – uh, no way! Too much living left to do to be bogged down in pity!!

The goodness, kindness, and fierce support Here For the Girls has for the Boobers! is unparalleled in any other organization with which I have worked. The Boobers! themselves build each other up by offering love, friendship, unwavering support, laughter and sometime tears. For those of us who are fortunate enough to volunteer for this great organization, we get to meet and get to know the actual ladies – not some line item on a set of financials.  For all of these reasons, and many more, I love this organization and all it does for the ladies.

The assumption for many is that you volunteer or invest in an organization because you have been personally impacted by the “cause.” I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. You invest because of the mission, the impact, the good, the hope, the difference it makes in the lives of those in need. That is why I totally support Here For the Girls… because they truly are “Here For the Girls…”

So remember, every day is a celebration… sometimes you enjoy it by yourself; or enrich your soul when you share it with others.