Girls Inc. PNW has been Shayla’s second home since she was twelve years old. Before becoming a mentor herself, she started her journey with Girls Inc. PNW as a middle school Girls Groups participant. As a mentee and, later, mentor, Shayla grew in confidence and learned to advocate for herself and others. While still in middle school, she started an anti-bullying campaign called #StandUp, that taught teens how to navigate bullying and find the resources they needed, especially when they didn’t feel supported. Now, she is a proud mentor and has served on our Leadership Council, participated in Eureka!, and volunteered for many fundraisers.
“I’m really thankful for [Girls Inc. PNW]. Being in their after-school group allowed me to come out of my shell and begin to realize my self-worth. They taught me how to carry myself as a young woman.”
Today, Shayla is a confident 19-year-old nursing student at Warner Pacific University who was crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA in 2020, and went on to win first runner-up at last year’s Miss Teen USA pageant. Helping other girls learn self-love and discover their self-worth has become Shayla’s passion. A year before being crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA, Shayla founded Teens Speak Life, an organization that presents free online conferences for teens. A variety of speakers give mini-sessions on topics like mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, breaking the barriers of negative self-talk and self-care. She has even brought her program into our Girls Groups to help educate Girls Inc. PNW youth about the power of self-love.
Read her interview with PDX Parent.