November 2021 Alum Newsletter


This Month’s Hot Topic: How Alumnae Practice Gratitude

Last month’s newsletter explored how practicing gratitude is a form of self-care. This month you will see gratitude in action through the words and stories of your own peers!

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Girls Inc. staff interviewed two current alumnae, India Gay and Safiyyah Franklin, to learn what gratitude means to them.

India Gay

India is 19 years old and a current nursing student. She is looking forward to beginning her post-secondary education and beginning her step to building a brighter future for herself.

While in high school, she was a member of the Ambassador Club program. Reflecting on her Girls Inc. experience, India feels grateful for the skills Girls Inc. has given her which range from how to practice self-defense to representing herself in front of individuals in powerful positions.

As a busy young adult, India practices gratitude by treating those around her with kindness and respect, regardless of the role they play in her life. Currently, she feels grateful for having secure housing, the support of her mother, and a positive relationship with her siblings.

India encourages her peers to practice gratitude, as she feels it creates a cycle of kindness in which everyone benefits. India expressed that showing someone kindness can “give everyone a better life tomorrow.”

Safiyyah Franklin

Safiyyah is a sophomore engineering student at Cornell University, where she is an active member of Engineers in Action.

Previously, Saifyyah was a member of Girls Inc.’s STEMGems and Ambassador programs. Reflecting on her time with Girls Inc., Safiyyah feels “grateful for the mentorship and the sisterhood” that her participation in the programs provided her with. She also expresses gratitude for Girls Inc. demonstrating “how to be strong smart and bold and how to advocate.” She shares that she has utilized the skills she has developed in Girls Inc. programming every day in college.

Despite being a busy college student, Safiyyah makes time to practice gratitude. She shares that she fits gratitude into her busy schedule by using her walks to class or campus to reflect on the opportunities that she has given and the people that she has been privileged to meet. Safiyyah feels grateful for her support system and feels that they helped her reach her goals.

Safiyyah encourages others to practice gratitude by “being present in their daily lives and being appreciative of the relationships they have with people.”

A Message from the Girls Inc. Associate Advisory Board (GIAAB)

We surveyed mentors on the Girls Inc. Associate Advisory Board to see how they practice gratitude in their daily lives and explore what they are grateful to their younger selves for accomplishing. The GIAAB also provides insight into what they had more gratitude for when they were in their 20s.

  • Emily Brown, Associate Legal Advisor for the Department of Homeland Security, practices gratitude by giving back to her community, such as donating to food banks and clothing drives. Ms. Emily wishes that during her early 20s she had more gratitude for her inner strength and judgment. She feels that she often underestimated herself. She expresses gratitude for her younger self for persevering and pushing through tough times, while never losing sight of her goals.
  • Alison Pettine, who is a Financial Advisor at SPG, exercises to express gratitude. Whether she is walking her dog, going on runs, or using her exercise bike, she spends time thinking about what she is grateful for. Ms. Alison is grateful to her younger self for investing in her health by eating healthy and participating in sports.
  • Anoopoma Bhowmik, a Senior Project Manager & ELP Supervisor at Edmund Optics, uses writing to practice gratitude by recording what she is grateful for in her journal and sending mail to her loved ones sharing her gratitude for them. Ms. Poma is grateful for the “big bold chances” she took as a young adult, such as going to graduate school, moving to a new state, and saying “yes” to new opportunities. She wishes that during her young adult years she had practiced gratitude for her mistakes and reframed them as “evidence of courage (as opposed to naivete/inexperience).”
Self-Care Idea of the Month: Rose, Thorn, & Bud

Last month, we explored gratitude as a form of self-care and explored gratitude journals. This month, we will look at another easy way to practice self-care by exploring gratitude. Rose, Bud, and Thorn is a mindfulness practice that provides the space for you to reflect on your day, week, or month. First, choose the time frame that you are reflecting on and whether your reflections will be shared with another person, recorded in a journal, or processed internally, then begin to identify your Rose, Thorn, and Bud.

The rose is something positive that has occurred, such as a moment of joy or small victory. This could be a great score on a test, making your favorite meal, time spent with a loved one, or waking up on time for work.

The thorn is a challenge or frustration. This could be something that support is needed to process or advice is wanted to move forward, such as something not going the way it was intended.

The bud is something exciting that will happen in the future or something that is being looked forward to. This could include concert tickets for next month, the beginning of a new season, or an exciting book that is being released.

After identifying your rose, thorn, and bud, it is important to debrief with yourself or the individual you shared with. This can look like celebrating your rose and sharing what made the moment positive, identifying ways to cope with your thorn and how to change the situation in the future, and discussing your bud and what joy the upcoming moment will bring you.

We hope that this self care activity can bring you some stress relief and help increase your calmness this November.