BY Liz Liles, Founder/CEO Daughters of Worth
She is in the fifth grade, and if you ask her what she dreams of for her life, she will answer without a moment’s pause: She wants a home where mom and dad live together and love one another. She wants to come home and always have lights on and always have enough food to eat in the house. She wants to graduate from school and go to college. She wants to teach dance and gymnastics. She wants to marry and have a family and a home of her own. This is what she wishes for her life.
But for this beautiful girl, these dreams are nothing compared to her reality. More often than not, she comes home to an empty space. There are no protectors, no rules to follow, no one to make certain that she has had enough to eat, or even that she is clean. There are no beds. No blankets or pillows. She sleeps on the cold, hard floor on a stained, soiled mattress.
She walks the streets by herself at all hours of the night. The gangs in her community invite her to join them. They promise her all the things she so desperately wants: To be loved. To be protected. To belong.
But there is no intent to actually love her or protect her. Only to use her, manipulate her and sell her. For their gain. This is the girl’s reality. This is her life. And she is just one. Just one of many beautiful and precious girls whom the Daughters of Worth organization serves.
Three years ago, Daughters of Worth was born in response to these treasured girls who came forward with strong voices, and stories of their own: Stories of homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, sexual assault, self-harm and attempted suicide. Innumerable stories, but all the truths behind them revealing the very same pain of shame and hopelessness. The pain of confiscated hopes and shattered dreams. The pain of being used and discarded instead of being wanted and loved. For this very reason, Daughters of Worth exists.
Daughters of Worth exists for her, because she matters. Daughters of Worth exists to answer the call—to shine the light of hope and love—so that the girls of our communities can once again believe in the power of themselves and their dreams. Because they matter.
This war against poverty, violence, self-harm, substance abuse and false promises is for them. It is for them that we fight against discrimination. Against predatory gangs trafficking our streets. And against these girls’ very own deep-rooted insecurities because of the lies they have been told, and believe. Daughters of Worth exist for them.
The work is not insignificant or inconsequential. Today, Daughters of Worth serves more than 1,000 girls across Eastern NC through six signature programs. Through GLAM Girls (Girls Living a Mission) mentorship, approximately 300 girls are being taught that they can truly create the tomorrow of their dreams by making positive, healthy decisions today.
Through the Notes of Hope program, nearly 1,000 girls in Pitt, Beaufort, Hyde and Johnston Counties are receiving personalized, handwritten cards of love, hope and encouragement each and every month.
The newest initiative, Grace Gifts, teaches these girls learn how to counteract the vicious cycle of poverty through financial literacy and a strong business work ethic. Daughters of Worth has a passion, a vision and a mission to educate, equip and empower girls of all ages to become strong women of influence in their communities. The very essence of this organization is to ensure that every single girl knows that she matters. That she simply is worth more.
For every woman who is here now, reading this article and hearing the passion in these words, know that also Daughters of Worth exists for you. Know that you are seen, heard, believed and loved. You are worth fighting for, too.
There is much work to be done, and it begins with women coming together to encourage and to uplift, to truly hear and to listen, tp fully unite and wholeheartedly advocate for these girls and for one another. Will you join in seeing, hearing, listening, believing and advocating? In shining the light of hope? The Tribe of women awaits, and YOU are invited. Because she matters.
Daughters of Worth is always looking for volunteer groups to participate in their Notes of Hope program. For more information about Daughters of Worth and their other initiatives, visit