SYSK: Tripoli Girls Making A Difference - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Tripoli Girls Making A Difference

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TRIPOLI (KWWL) -

The group Tripoli Girls Making A Difference was started more than two years ago by Ashley Figanbaum.

Figanbaum is a student at Allen College in Waterloo. She was also Miss Tripoli in 2007 and felt a responsibility to give back to her community.

"I just wanted to impact somebody else's life and especially fifth and sixth grade girls. Just helping them through what I experienced," said Ashley Figanbaum.

About 20 girls are involved with TGMad. The group meets every other Sunday for two hours. Figanbaum wants to help the young girls build positive relationships, gain self-esteem and confidence and just to know they're not alone.

"One of my main things is to encourage the girls to be themselves and just have confidence in what they do. Knowing it'll be okay," said Figanbaum.

The girls said the message is sticking.

"I feel more confident in myself. I can do more on my own," said seventh grader Ali Harms.

During meetings, the girls hear from guest speakers, do community service projects and participate in team building exercises.

In the two years since the group started, the girls notice a difference in each other.

"Learn how to speak up for themselves and do thing they might have not done before," said Harms.

Ashley Figanbaum said she never imagined her simple idea of helping girls be themselves would grow into this.

"It's grown way bigger than I ever thought it would be, and that's exciting," she said.

Figanbaum hopes by reaching out to these young girls, they'll grow up to make a difference in other people's lives, too.

Ashley Figanbaum is set to graduate from Allen College this May. She's looking forward to starting her career as a nurse, and she hopes to continue her work with Tripoli Girls Making a Difference even after she graduates.

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