Throwback Month: Becoming a Leader Without Limits

At Girls in the Game, August is our “Throwback Month” to tell stories of alumnae, dig through old photos of our programs and see how far we’ve come. As we prepare for our new logo launch next month, we are excited to share where we started and how we continue to adapt to the needs’ of our girls and their communities. Follow our stories on FacebookTwitter Instagram!

Name: Imani Monroe
Occupation:
Student and Head Advising Fellow for Matriculate at Howard University
Three Words that Describe Girls in the Game: 
Unique. Influential. Extraordinary.

When did you start Girls in the Game? And Why?

I started Girls in the Game when I was about 11-years-old. At that time Girls in the Game had a lacrosse program during the school year where each weekend we would take the bus up to Northwestern University and the women’s lacrosse team would teach us how to play lacrosse. This is the program that initiated my love for Girls in the Game. That following summer I became a participant in Summer Camp. After that, when I began high school I joined Teen Squad and stayed a member throughout my high school career. During the summers after my junior and senior years of high school, I worked as a Junior Counselor for Summer Camp.

Imani Summer Camp
Imani as a Junior Counselor at Summer Camp (far right).

Why do you think Girls in the Game is important for girls in Chicago?

I think that Girls in the Game is especially important for girls in Chicago because of all the negativity and violence that surrounds young people in the city. I look at Girls in the Game as being a home away from home for girls, somewhere where you can feel safe and at peace.

Girls in the Game shows girls that there is no limit to what they can do and accomplish in life. Girls in the Game gives girls opportunities that they wouldn’t receive at their schools or in other programs. As a black girl from the South Side of Chicago, I believe that without Girls in the Game I would have never been introduced to sports such as lacrosse and rugby, or gotten the chance to sit down with CEOs from top companies with Teen Squad. One of the most important things Girls in the Game does is teach girls to be comfortable with and respect themselves.

How has Girls in the Game impacted your time in college?

When my leadership skills are recognized, I always mention that I gained these skills from Girls in the Game. When I started Girls in the Game, I was quiet and reserved and I truly believe that the different activities and lessons from Girls in the Game helped me to come out of my shell and be assertive.

I believe that Girls in the Game coaches saw potential in me and pushed me to be a leader. I used to have a feeling of not being good enough or qualified enough, and oftentimes I doubted myself, but Girls in the Game taught me to step outside of my comfort zone. I was a Junior Counselor at Summer Camp for two years at Girls in the Game, meaning I was partially responsible for a group of young girls. I had no choice but to be a leader and an example for these young girls.

Girls in the Game is a part of the reason why I chose to take a lead role on my campus for a national nonprofit called Matriculate. Matriculate’s goal is to help low-income, high-achieving high school students get to college by having college students walk them through every step of the college application process. I serve as the Head Advising Fellow on Howard’s campus where I am not only an adviser for high school students, but I also manage a cohort of 30 Howard students and train them on the necessary curriculum to serve their high school students.

Imani Matriculate
Imani at a training in New York for Matriculate.

This opportunity alone has opened so many doors for me, in the past six months I’ve been to LA and New York City, all expenses paid, to participate in conferences and trainings because of my work with Matriculate. Without testing out my leadership skills at Girls in the Game, I don’t think that I would have applied to take this big role on, and I wouldn’t have this wonderful experience.

What are your goals for college and for your career? 

I am currently a rising senior, biology major and chemistry minor, at Howard University with plans on attending medical school and becoming a pediatrician. I’m currently trying to make the most of my college career by involving myself in programs and organizations that have values that are important to me and that will prepare me for my life after undergrad. I’ve always had a love for science and a passion for working with younger children, which is why I want to be a pediatrician. Once I become a pediatrician, I plan on opening a health clinic in Chicago in an area that needs it most.

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