- High School: Pioneer High School (Graduated May 2018)
- College: Grand Valley State University (Expected Graduation May 2022)
- Undergraduate Major: Elementary Education With a Minor in Spanish
Ariana learned about Girls Group through friends who were also participants. Her friends shared how much fun they were having, and of course, they also shared all about the good food they got to eat! With her friends’ support, Ariana decided to join Girls Group her sophomore year of high school. She shares that she ultimately joined to get a better understanding of what Girls Group was about. She found that “Girls Group was a place where I could hang out with other girls and talk about stuff that mattered to us.”
Ariana shared that Girls Group helped her realize that her voice matters and that it was okay to be different, vibrant, and eclectic! Looking back on her involvement in Girls Group, Ariana thought of the different activities and events she was able to participate in over the years. Her favorite events and activities included a session on the medical field as a career path where nurses and midwives from the University of Michigan shared their unique journeys and an interview she participated in when Girls Group was profiled in the Ann Arbor Observer!
As for so many of us, Ariana had to learn how to adapt to a world forever changed by the Coronavirus Pandemic. The hardest part of her experience has been the loss of her grandmother to the virus. Processing her loss was “weird” in that she and her family could not mourn in the way they wanted to. She shared “everyone in masks…unable to show their grief and/or affection for each other physically. It was and still is hard to process.” Additionally, as a college student, the virus’ impact meant that both school and work would be online, which at times proved to be very difficult. However, Ariana found ways to take care of herself. Her love of being outdoors and connecting with nature moved her to conduct research of the parks in her neighborhood. The change in scenery and fresh air improved her mood and kept her motivated to finish her last semester of college.
As she looks ahead to the summer months, Ariana wants to focus on moving out on her own! Now living full time near family in Indiana, Ariana has secured employment as a receptionist for the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She will continue her role as a group leader for a youth center in Grand Rapids until June. She is so excited about her new job and the direction her life is headed!
When asked what she would tell a girl thinking about joining Girls Group, Ariana stated “I am a full fledged advocate for Girls Group and the Women of Purpose program! I would volunteer for anything they needed not because I feel indebted to them but because I want to give back…I want to do my part!”