As the Girls Out Loud programme at Blackburn Central High School moves into its final quarter and they start planning the graduation ceremony, one of the Big Sisters, Police Officer Louise Dunn shares her experience and personal journey…
“I’ve been a Big Sister to Alix since February this year. It’s so satisfying to know that just being there for a teenage girl can have such an impact on her life. Just to notice small changes in her is rewarding. For example she told me that she never put her hand up to ask a question in class as she didn’t have the confidence, she was then the first girl to ask a question at our group event in Graham and Brown in June, and I was so proud of her!
It’s also changed the way I think and behave. I’ve always been fairly confident, would talk to anyone – but I didn’t really push myself out of my comfort zone. But I recently applied for a new job within the police, working on the Child Protection Team. A year ago I would never have applied for it – I’d have told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t worthy of the job, that the job was too big for me. But having gone through the GOL training and listened to Jane talk about being a role model, I realised that it would be hypocritical to encourage Alix to take risks and step out of her comfort zone without doing so myself. I figured that if I didn’t get the job, then I could say to Alix – “fine, I didn’t get it but I learned from it.” Even though I was really nervous, as I was driving to the interview I kept telling myself “This is my time to shine”. I got the job, and I was proud to be able to share my success with Alix!
The programme has changed us both. Alix has attended each session and fully engaged with the process. She’s opened up to me, and shared some pretty serious family stuff, but best of all the girl who was afraid to speak up is planning to deliver a talk to Year 8 and 9 girls about cervical cancer. I couldn’t be prouder of her!”