A group of freshmen have started a new student organization aimed at mentoring young girls around the Pine Belt. Freshman elementary education major Chuna Lott currently serves as president of The TALK and is excited to see how the organization can grow to affect mentors and mentees alike.
Lott volunteers regularly at Aldersgate Mission, a local ministry serving more than 88 youth in downtown Hattiesburg, according to their website. Lott said that an altercation between two female students one afternoon prompted her to do more to positively impact the lives of the young girls at Aldersgate.
“We were just outside at recess, and we had a couple girls that were just going back-and-forth and arguing.” Lott said. “Just being ill-mannered, but they were cussing at each other and just being very loud. So we were just trying to dissolve the situation and get them to calm down so that they wouldn’t get in trouble.”
Lott and her friends began working on becoming a chartered organization right away.
According to the Southern Miss website, a group of 10 or more fulltime students and a full-time advisor are needed to charter a new student organization that cannot duplicate an existing organization on campus. There are several steps in the application process, including letters of support from various departments and an organization constitution. However, Lott said everything fell into place.
“After that me and a group of girls started talking and I told them I wanted to start an organization right now, and that’s when we came up with ‘The TALK,’” Lott said. “We came up with the idea of not only mentoring them, but having lectures about arguing with each other, respecting each other and respecting themselves.”
The TALK’s goal is to have female young adults answer questions the girls may have about things going on in their personal lives while also giving advice on growing pains.
Freshman nursing major Raven Spires is one of the original members and currently serves as secretary for The TALK.
“When I first went, I wasn’t a big fan of [Aldersgate],” Spires said. “But once I got involved with the kids I fell in love with it. We get our little’s based on our personalities, and if she has problems with school, family wise, or anything she can just come talk to me and mentor about certain situations and outcomes and just make her feel better about herself.”
Most of The TALK’s mentees are girls enrolled in fifth grade and below.
This does not mean that the organization will not grow to mentor older girls. Lott has begun calling local schools to attempt to implement the organization in more communities.
“When we get more people involved, they’ll see what we’re trying to do with the kids, and I think they’ll fall in love with it just as much as we do,” Spires said.
Their main focus remains the young girls at Aldersgate for the time being, but the members plan to add a male chapter in the future.
“Our initial goal is to help these ladies learn who they truly are and learn how to dissolve conflict in a healthy way,” Lott said. “Every time I’m walking somewhere, people come up to me and congratulate me on the chapter and ask how to join.”
If you are interested in joining The TALK, you can follow them on Instagram @thetalk_usm or email Chuna Lott at firstname.lastname@example.org.