Letter to the Editor: The importance of strong female guidance

I was fascinated by the report by Joe DiProsperos about the special mentoring program for girls organized by former school paraprofessional Edwena Lanier (“Program aiming to provide guidance for young girls,” Jan. 19). The motivation for the creation of “Mrs. Lanier Presents Girl Talk” was the apparent lack of activities centered on girls and their needs. Lanier is correct that so many after-school activities, like sports, mainly include only males.

As a student who had the benefit of a 4-year all-female high school, Saint Maria Goretti High School (Class of 1958), I was so fortunate to be included in programs and activities centered on the female point of view. I even sent my own daughter to an all-girl private high school, Merion Mercy Academy, where students centered most of their extracurricular activities around sports and the arts. Such experience creates lifelong bonds plus a strong sense of self-confidence.

What I like most about Lanier’s program, besides the attention provided solely to girls, is the fact that it centers around their own needs and talents. The best educational programs focus on the interests of the students. Young people learn best what is most important to them. So the fact that Lanier pays primary attention to the needs and desires of her girls makes her program unique and powerful.

Perhaps the most valuable component of this program is the fact that Lanier provides the girls with a role model. Just as boys need male mentoring, so also do girls need strong female guidance. Some get that at home, but not always. Also, it helps to reinforce whatever models the girls do have in their background.

So I salute Edwena Lanier for her dedication to the life and identity-affirming formation of young women. She provides a strong model for others to follow.

Gloria C. Endres