Girls with Dreams preps students with life skills


A new after school program at Memminger Elementary is dedicated to giving girls the building blocks to big dreams.

Gloria Murray, a teacher for more than thirty years, started the Dreams with Girls program at the downtown Charleston school this past December at the request of her fifth grade students.

“The boys had a program they started…a couple of years ago…it was called Boys with a Purpose. And the girls said ‘what can we do for the girls?’”

Modeled after the boys program, which includes lessons on how to shake hands, make eye contact, open doors and address their elders, Girls with Dreams aims to instill life lessons while exposing the young girls to life’s possibilities.

Meeting twice monthly, the fifth graders are led by Murray and her team in social skills, etiquette, nutrition and fitness as well as character development.

But Murray doesn’t stop there.

“I also want to teach them things that are present now,” the longtime teacher said. “Different career opportunities that they can be anything they want to be.”

Murray helps show the fifth graders they are achievers-in-the-making, bringing in local experts and businesses such as Boeing to show the young group the limitless possibilities.

“That all dreams can become a reality,” Murray said. “That they not only can dream about it but they can actually live it.”

While she hopes to expand the program to additional grades of girls, the focus remains on prepping the fifth graders as they prepare for life’s next big step.

“They’re the ones that are going out first into new life,” Murray said. “You know, middle school.”

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