NC nonprofit encouraging girls to 'be the leaders in their families'

Posted September 7, 2015 10:25 a.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2015 6:50 p.m. EDT

— A North Carolina nonprofit organization is hoping to empower middle and high school girls to become the first in their family to earn a college degree.

Nadia Shirin Moffett created The Queen's Foundation when she was in college and eventually left her corporate career to run the program. She says the biggest barrier for low-income students is the poverty mindset.

“We believe we are addressing the major issues of North Carolina in a systemic approach by educating these girls who may not otherwise be the change-agents of their families,” she said. “It’s specifically girls who will be first in their families earn a four-year degree and be the leaders in their families.”

Through the foundation, girls learn about scholarship opportunities, tour college campuses and are paired with a mentor during an internship. They also visit companies like Citrix, a trip that inspired Jonnica Blaylock to consider a future in the IT field.

“That opened a lot of doors for me. This is amazing. There is so much you can do with computers,” Blaylock said.

Moffett says it's not just about education, it’s about showing the girls what they can do with that education and pushing them to go further – a lesson the teens are passing on to their younger siblings.

“One day, my sister came up to me and said, ‘I want to be just like you,’” said Adriana Miranda Ramirez. “I was kind of shocked, but at the same time I told her, ‘I don’t want you to be just like me. I want you to be better than me.’

The foundation follows the students through their first year of college. Several schools in the Triangle, Triad, Rocky Mount and Charlotte area are participating.