As Program Director at LiveGirl, University of Bridgeport alum Shamare Holmes is giving girls and young women the skills and confidence to become future leaders. In 2022, she is returning to UB to talk to college students about paid internship and mentoring opportunities and bringing middle school students to campus for a spring season of the Confidence Club.
“I’m excited to do my part,” says Holmes, who graduated from UB as a Mass Communications major in 2016. “I’ve always wanted to give back.” She joined the LiveGirl team in 2019 as a Mentor and now serves as the Program Director. She also worked as a Program Director for Her Time, a network for women impacted by mass incarceration, as Community Organizer for the Bridgeport Education Alliance for Public Schools, and as the Director of Girls Reality Empowerment Circle (GREC).
Sheri West, a former finance executive at General Electric, founded LiveGirl in 2014 as a way to build confident and inclusive leaders and a world free from both gender and racial inequality. So far, the non-profit organization has reached over 12,000 young women, from grades 5 to college-aged, through free-of-charge innovative leadership development and mentoring programs. “We’re partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs across Connecticut, community centers, middle schools and giving programs in libraries,” says Holmes. “With special emphasis to make sure we are reaching girls of color in communities like Bridgeport.”
Confidence Club is the signature middle-school program, teaching respect and gratitude for oneself and how to thrive in groups with people who might be different.
Once you are comfortable in your own skin, you won’t be so concerned with what others are doing,” says Holmes. “In that way, teaching self-love teaches love for others.”
In addition to this successful program and the LiveGirl League, they are also kicking off Leadership Lab for high school students in Fairfield County to complement the Confidence Club. “In middle school we teach you how to lead yourself,” says Holmes. “And in high school, we teach you how to lead others.”
She Works is a program in which LiveGirl helps rising high school seniors and college students build career-readiness skills and connects them with internships at companies that demonstrate female leadership. “We help young women to tap into a network even if they are not well-connected,” says Holmes. The program teaches skills like resume-writing, interviewing, networking, and public speaking, as well as giving access to career development tools.
Holmes will be on campus January 26th from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM to give UB students information about the She Works program and run a “Confidence Club: College Edition” with ice-breakers, affirmations, and much more. Later this spring, she will be bringing 15 middle-school girls to campus for Confidence Club. They will join her for eight sessions of ground-breaking mentorship and skills-building, but also for a chance to just be themselves. “And hopefully,” says Holmes. “They will see UB, Seaside Park and Bridgeport as a whole in a new light.”
Those UB students who are interested in internships with She Works should attend the January 26th session. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor for Confidence Club or other programs should reach out and send their resume to email@example.com.
“Shamare is a great example of the pride UB students have gained from their educational experience,” says Stephanie Beach, the University’s Director of Career Development. “Alums want to give back to this industry and serve as role models to our current students. Not only do alums bring opportunities, but they also prove to our students who they can become in their future.”
“I’m excited to bring a project like this to University of Bridgeport,” says Holmes. “It opens doors to students right in their backyard.” She pauses, then proudly declares the informal student slogan: