“Staff at Girls Inc. always told me that my voice was valued and that my ideas matter and can impact my community. They made me believe I could pursue a project like this even though I’m 17.”
Olivia first came to Girls Inc. as a 15-year-old high school intern looking to make friends and get involved with Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. While interning, she came across an opportunity that changed the trajectory of her life and future goals.
“My Girls Inc. supervisors, Leah and Emma, told me they were putting together a team for this challenge hosted by Colorado Young Leaders called Think Like a Genius ® Challenge where we would get to create policy changes and help solve issues in the community and I’m very passionate about creating things, so I decided to join.”
The challenge teens were asked to solve revolved around ways to address sexual and mental health and when Olivia discovered the waiting time survivors experience before receiving mental health support, can be a week to several months, she was shocked. That’s when she first developed an idea to create an app that served as a database to connect survivors of sexual assault with the resources, they needed to begin the process of healing.
“I felt like it was an injustice to people who needed help and when I saw firsthand sexual assault victims around me not being able to find the help they needed and not knowing where to start, I knew I had to bring my app idea to life. Then I began researching how to create an app and asking other professionals working with sexual assault survivors for advice on what resources to include and on the name of the app.”
Actualizing an idea and creating real, tangible change is never an easy task and requires lots of collaboration, self-confidence, and persistence. Girls Inc. of Metro Denver was able to provide Olivia with just that.
“Girls Inc. helped me put myself out there and have the courage to collaborate with nonprofit professionals. As a teenager it can be really intimidating because you’re dealing with experts and people deep in their careers, but Girls Inc. gave me the courage to go for it anyways. Staff always told me that my voice was valued, my ideas matter and can impact my community. They made me believe I could pursue a project like this even though I’m 17.”
With a boost of confidence from Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Olivia has completed building her app and website called Monarch: Denver-Based Database for Rape and Sexual Assault Survivors, where victims of sexual violence can find resources connecting them with mental and physical health, legal aid, and resources specific to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ survivors. Her next steps are to launch the app and actively engage with local organizations, schools, and communities to raise awareness about Monarch. Olivia’s journey from a 15-year-old intern at Girls Inc. to a confident leader and innovator is a testament to the transformative power of mentorship, empowerment, and community support.
At Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Olivia not only found the courage to step into the professional world but also discovered her passion for creating positive change. Our commitment to fostering leadership skills and emphasizing the value of every girl’s voice has propelled Olivia to create a meaningful solution to a pressing community. Now, equipped with her app, Monarch, Olivia is poised to make a real impact on the lives of sexual violence survivors in Denver.
As Girls Inc. of Metro Denver continues to empower and uplift the next generation of female leaders, stories like Olivia’s serve as a powerful reminder that, with the right support, girls are not just preparing for leadership–they are already leading the way towards a stronger, more compassionate community.