Hermanas with One voice for Personal Empowerment or H.O.P.E, funded in part by a MetLife grant, is a Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council program that has helped girls from the Inland Empire gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their cultural heritage and their potential. With technology, such as social media, dominating the lives of many young people today, the H.O.P.E. program set out to offer an alternative form of self expression to local girls.
The program had an emphasis on music and drawing. Nearly 300 girls from all five GSSGC regions — High Desert, Low Desert, Southwest, Central and Central West — registered for H.O.P.E. late last year. The program kicked off with an event at the University of Redlands on Saturday, November 2, 2013. Opportunities for older girls to participate in Girl Scouting were unveiled, and the attendees were taught how to express themselves in positive ways through the arts. During the course of the program, volunteers and council members worked with the girls on individual “self-expression” projects. Breakout sessions, where girls actively participated, were taught by four inspirational speakers: Hip-hop and music by Anthony Stone, Cinema by Per Lichtman, Photography by Myles Johnson and Color Theory by Roberto Galarza. Keynote speaker Victor Villaseñor, a Mexican-American writer best known for his New York Times bestseller novel Rain of Gold, held a captivated audience of adults and girls. Villaseñor spoke from personal experience and encouraged the girls to live up to their true potential.
The LACMA day-trip, held on April 12, 2014, was the culminating event of the program, capping off with a tour, personally guided by the museum’s curator, of ancient and modern art collections. The tour demonstrated the cross-cultural connections fostered through trade and increasing travel to the girls.
Participants also enjoyed viewing artifacts from Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.