Taylor Marcus and the Girls Gain Confidence Initiative
(Image c/o Just Giving)
By Jenevieve Monroe
At Saint Mary's College, you'll find alumni who are actively contributing to positive change throughout the Bay Area community. One notable example is Taylor Marcus, a graduate from Saint Mary’s class of 2020 with a degree in Justice, Community, and Leadership. Currently, she is in the final stages of completing her master’s program in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. Marcus serves as the Executive Director, founder, and CEO of Girls Gain Confidence, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Black girls aged 12-17 through a variety of services. These include “mentoring, community engagement activities, field trips, tutoring, and educational events.” These initiatives are designed to enhance the self-confidence of participating mentees, cultivate academic excellence, and instill a sense of agency both “in and outside of the classroom.”
The program is structured on three levels: mentorship (level one), partnerships (level two), and community events (level three). Marcus explained that these levels are designed to extend support beyond the program’s designated cohorts. “Our goal is to ensure that Black girls in the Bay Area can readily access mentorship, educational workshops, and career advancement prospects.”
When questioned about the source of her inspiration for Girls Gain Confidence, Marcus explained that the vision had been inspired from her youth. “I founded this nonprofit based on my experiences as an early teenager. I know firsthand how negative influences and unhealthy relationships can destroy a girl's self-esteem.” She explained that by initiating a program centered on “genuine love, unwavering support, positive representation, and a sense of accountability,” mentees could be motivated “to embrace their full potential rather than give in to the negative influences that often surround us.”
Marcus also expressed that the mission of Girls Gain Confidence is centered in the transformative power of community. “GGC bridges the gap between families, educators, and Black girls. Our goal is to cultivate positive decision-making, academic excellence, and a strong sense of agency among our mentees.” She shared some testimonials from students that participated in the program and were inspired moving forward in their academic careers.
"This year I've been trying to dodge conflict, but last year I ran straight towards it. I’ve changed because I don't fight anymore, and my grades are good now. In 7th grade I had no self-respect. I didn't even know what it was. Now I do." (Student, 2022)
"When I started Girls Group, I was the girl who wanted friends. Now I'm the girl who prioritizes herself and I do what makes me happy. My perspective on conflict has changed because now I know to choose my battles wisely. I will stay true to myself in high school." (Student, 2022)
Throughout her professional journey, Marcus has remained connected to the Saint Mary’s community. Girls Gain Confidence has established partnership with one of Saint Mary’s service opportunities, known as the Community Engagement Program. Students participating in this program are collaborating with Marcus to advance her nonprofit's mission. Their contributions include providing one-on-one research for careers and higher educational opportunities, media focused outreach through marketing strategies, and organizing fundraising efforts for the nonprofit’s annual Historically Black College Tour. On this trip, the mentees will have the opportunity to travel to schools like Texas Southern, Prairie View, Howard, and Hampton University. All donations will go towards covering the costs of travel and lodging. If you are interested in supporting the mission and mentees of Girls Gain Confidence, check out their website at www.girlsgainconfidence.org or their Instagram account.
If you would like to support fundraising efforts for the Historically Black College Tour, go online to the JustGiving.com Donation Server and search “Girls Gain Confidence (Oakland) - HBCU Student Tour”.
Madison Sciba '24,