Fostering self-acceptance through Lewis’ “Girls Need Love”

Lewis’ club builds a supportive environment for girls helping out one another.


Courtesy of Kayla Boateng

Lewis’ Girls Need Love club members and sponsor participate in a “pink out” in October, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Joy Carpenter, Guest Writer

Lewis has a unique club with the mission to inspire girls and raise their self worth. “Girls Need Love,” which was founded in 2019 by Lewis alumna Kendra Boateng, has a stated mission. 

According to sophomore Kayla Boateng, who is now in her second year of leading the club, that mission is to “help girls inside the school and outside the school improve as individuals and help them outside the community.” 

Kayla wanted to continue the club her sister founded. She thought it would be a good idea to inspire young women in a place where, in her words, “we build safe spaces where girls come to be vulnerable and talk about anything they want to talk about.”

When Kendra Boateng created this club, she did so to help girls and welcome girls into a place where they are free to talk about anything they are passionate about. This club has become an amazing resource for young women especially when they are going through things that they don’t feel comfortable talking to adults about. 

Before Girls Need Love, Lewis had a similar club called BAPES. However, BAPES was more of a mentoring-mentee type of club. 

Key Middle School African-American girls used to ride the bus to Lewis and attend BAPES. The high school girls were the mentors, and the Key Middle School girls were the mentees. 

When COVID hit and in-person instruction ended, BAPES tried to continue through Zoom meetings, but it didn’t work out. The BAPES sponsor Vaughnetta Caldwell moved, leaving a vacancy for club sponsor, and most of the BAPES members had graduated by the end of the year. BAPES had ended, but its absence set the stage for Girls Need Love.

Before the Covid closures, Kendra Boateng was in her junior year when she came up with the idea of making the “Girls Need Love” club. Kendra got the papers signed to make the club official. But she graduated, and Kayla took her position as club leader and continued their amazing legacy. 

When Kayla took Kendra’s place, English teacher Cynnamon Stevens served as the club’s sponsor for the club’s first year of existence. This year, Stevens stepped down as club sponsor to be replaced by Lewis special education teacher Dionne Young

Young shares both Kendra and Kayla’s vision for the club and looks forward to creating an encouraging environment for new and returning members.

Young views the saying “I am enough” as the belief behind Girls Need Love. 

“[The saying] reminds me that despite the things I’ve experienced and pains and trauma, that I still am valued. Having to constantly remind myself “I’m enough” means that I shouldn’t be in competition with someone else but always just working to be a better version of myself. That’s something I’ve been wanting to encourage the young women in this group to understand–that they are enough and that they don’t have to try and be better than anyone or compete with anyone else,” Young said.

Girls Need Love exists to inspire and care for girls.