Local Girls Inc. member LaShay Vera has secured a coveted spot among the 10 girls chosen from the United States and Canada to join the esteemed Girls Inc. National Teen Advocacy Council (TAC). This council, comprising high school girls in grades 10-12, serves as a crucial advisory body, offering insights and perspectives on issues affecting girls and youth in their communities.
Amidst a competitive field of more than 50 qualified applicants, Vera stood out through her compelling essay, a video submission, local references, and a rigorous interview conducted via Zoom with national staff.
Vera and fellow members will hone their advocacy skills throughout the year-long commitment by collaborating with national staff and issue experts. They will serve as ambassadors for Girls Inc. in various local and national media opportunities and engage in social media campaigns, blogging, public speaking, and meetings with congressional offices.
Additionally, Vera will have the unique opportunity to spend 3-4 days in Washington, D.C., immersing in government, advocacy, and the issues she is passionate about.
Tish Correa Osborne, CEO of the local chapter of Girls Inc., is ecstatic about the accomplishment.
“LaShay has been an inspiring ambassador for Girls Inc. since she first came to us,” Osborne said. “Her leadership qualities and determination have always set her apart from others. We all had our fingers crossed that she would be selected because she deserves this experience and is determined to create positive change in the world.”
Vera was humble in her response to congratulations from the board of trustees.
“This is not about me; it is for so many other girls and young women throughout our nation and Girls Inc. who are not given the opportunity to advocate for themselves,” Vera said. “This program will allow me to learn how to serve and represent others diligently.”
Ashley Agada is the manager of the Girls Inc. campus located inside Owensboro Christian Church, where LaShay attends Girls Inc.
“Words cannot express how proud I am that LaShay has received this amazing opportunity,” Agada said. “She is a young leader who continues to blossom daily. I look forward to seeing the seed she plants in the Owensboro community through the Girls Inc. National Teen Advocacy Council.”
Vera is a 16-year-old sophomore at Apollo High School and has been a Girls Inc. member since January 2021. She has earned two awards recognizing her as an outstanding leader, ambassador, and role model, including the Kiwanis Girl of the Month and Girl of the Year.
Known for assisting other members with homework, participating in Girls Inc. National Programs, advocating for and speaking on behalf of other girls, and leading program classes such as civic engagement and women empowerment, Vera aspires to become an attorney to ensure all citizens have adequate representation.