The Can-do Girls Club strives to empower and educate girls in the North Minneapolis.
Ten girls between the ages of five and 11 are currently enrolled in the program.
“I wished someone would have started it for me,” said the club’s leader Shanae Hill. “I just wanted to start something that teaches the importance positivity and self- worth.”
Image: Left to right: Volincia, Marina, Princess, Makayla, Ajanae, Aujunae, Ce'veonna, Amiah, Breonna, Siah,and Na'shea
“I think it is important because it gives girls something to look forward to,” said Hill’s sister, Sophia Rayson. “They come to the house excited to learn and volunteer.”
Rayson and Hill, hold most of the club’s activities at their house. “Shanae teaches the girls everything from self-esteem, self-empowerment, nutrition, exercise, anti-bullying, and lifting others up, as well as many more topics,” said Rayson. “One example of her lesson plan and corresponding activity is a lesson she did on bringing others around you up instead of bringing them down.”
Rayson said the girls in the program, though young, are already dealing with self-esteem issues.
“With long, sad faces the girls shared a few of the words that they were called which were stupid, ugly, dirty, and fat,” said Rayson.
“When Shanae asked what words have they been called that made them feel happy, their faces lit up and they said words like smart, nice, pretty and loved.”
In an exercise to build self-confidence, Hill bought two helium tanks and over 100 balloons. She and the girls blew up the balloons and wrote positive words and phrases on them.
“They wrote things like ‘You Are Special,’ ‘You Are Loved,’ ‘You Are Somebody,” ‘You Are Beautiful’ and ‘Dream Big,’” said Rayson.
The girls along with Hill and Rayson walked around the Northside to hand out the balloons and were told to find a person that they thought needed some cheering up and to give them a balloon.
“One girl saw a young man in his late teens to early 20s scowling as he was walking down Lowry,” said Rayson. “One of the club members approached the young man and introduced herself. She then presented the balloon to him and said she wanted to let (him) know that (he is) somebody and can do anything."
Rayson said the young man began to smile immediately and thanked the girl for the balloon.
Image: Ajanae, Amiah, Jalaya, Princess, Marina, Ce'veonna, Na'shea, Aniah, Macaya, Makayla, and Volincia.
“We continued passing balloons out to others and after about ten minutes we looked back at the young man,” said Rayson. “He was standing on the corner waiting for the bus with headphones on but he was smiling and still holding tightly onto the balloon.”
“A few people shed tears,” said Hill. “A lot of people were interested in what we were doing.”
The Can-do Girls Club has been up and running for a month and a half.
“Just being with the girls is rewarding, said Hill. “Every morning there are four or five girls on my doorstep asking can they join the club.”
Hill wants to start a website for the club to bring more awareness to the community and members. “Hopefully it’s something I can keep going.”
The club meetings are held Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. Meals are provided.
For more information on the Can-do Girls Club contact Shanae Hill at 612-618-5363 or