The Elements of Betties: Meet “D”

D is water. D rolls over rocks and slides down mountainsides, she is fluid and necessary, and thoughtful.

D laughs like a babbling brook, her eyes are full of emotions, and her smile is filled with charm.

D only comes to class occasionally, because sometimes she has to go home to be with her father. They have a close relationship, and Betties tends to happen on the days her father has off. You know her father works immensely hard to take care of her. 

You relate to D because she makes herself relatable.

D is adaptable, she changes easily to conform to the situation. She makes room for everyone. However, she’ll call you out if you say anything unkind to someone she cares about.

If D was a body of water she would be a hot spring, you know this because of the warmth she gives her friends.

D is only 13 years old, yet you’re able to have honest conversations with her. She already has a grasp on how the world works and what it means to be truly kind to people.

D has told you, “I don’t date because I don’t have time for that, I have school work to do.” You laugh.

D is a Betty. She is compassionate, she cares deeply, and she wants to do right by her friends.

D struggles sometimes with the activities, but she never throws tantrums or pouts when she’s having a hard time.

Instead, she laughs when she falls and gets right back up again. She shrugs her shoulders if she doesn’t always do well at an activity, figuring there will be another one she might like better.

D is water.

By Hannah Nolan, Program Coordinator and After-School Instructor for Betties360 

The Elements of Betties: Meet “M”

M is earth. M is solid, reliable, and kind. M’s eyes sparkle when she’s thought of a new idea. Her feet are always planted firmly on the ground; her head is always in the right place.

M wants to do well in school. M wants to go to college. She tries not to involve herself in drama, because she thinks it distracts from her studies.

M had a hard time making new friends when you met her, she had trust issues, she did not think she could be friends with the other girls because that had hurt her in the past. M stayed with Betties though because she thought it was a great opportunity, and saw the value of being in a space for young women only…Even though she struggled to belong in the group.

This year M is an 8th grader, and you’ve never seen her shine brighter. She has made friends easily, and she has forgiven the people who hurt her in the 6th grade. You see her flit between the different girl cliques at school, and she continues to stay out of the drama and participate in class. You wonder if Betties helped her to forgive her classmates and learn how to make new friends.

M still has a hard time learning to trust new people, and she has an even harder time trusting her body to learn new things. You can’t blame her, you know she was bullied most of her childhood.

M is a Betty. She’s always cautious when she is learning a new activity. You know she’s scared to fall. However, she always pushes through and takes things in stride. You know that at the end of the skateboarding lesson she’ll let go of the wall. You know that at the end of rock climbing she’ll have made her way to the top. You know that during roller-skating she’ll stand up and do one lap around the track. It just takes her time to build confidence.

Maybe someday she’ll have the confidence to immediately let go, but it’s not right now, and that is ok.

M is earth.

By Hannah Nolan, Program Coordinator and After-School Instructor for Betties360 

The Elements of Betties: Meet “G”

G is fire. G is the most passionate, the most fierce, the most (outwardly) confident young woman I have ever worked with. G is a natural leader. G will stick by you and defend you, so long as you’re a true friend who won’t talk behind her back.

G knows who her true friends are.

G is also one of the most headstrong, most frustrating young woman I have ever worked with.

She sends you on an emotional roller coaster. You want to protect her and shield her from the struggles she faces constantly, you want to tell her it’s ok to still be a child.

You also realize that she is already grown up in so many ways. She had to grow up early to learn how to defend herself. She has far surpassed your capabilities of understanding the world and how it works when you were her age.

G is smart. When she does well in school she does really well. You think G could go to college if she really wanted to; you’re worried she might not.

That’s not what’s modeled for her at home.

G can bring a group together and tear a group apart. She knows how to guide her fellow classmates to focus and respect the person in charge. She also knows she has the power to turn them away from you. She can create order and chaos.

You want G on your side if you’re going to get anything done.

G climbs to the top of the rock wall up the hardest path, learns skateboard tricks with ease, and can pick up any dance routine.

G is a Betty. She does whatever she sets her mind to, she is not scared to try new things, and she is a deeply caring friend. She’s working hard to overcome the challenges life has presented her, sometimes she slips and reacts in a way that is easy for her, but other moments she shines and sparkles, and lets the world know that she means business.

G is fire.

By Hannah Nolan, Program Coordinator and After-School Instructor for Betties360