Natchez grad starts program for young girls

Published 12:02 am Thursday, December 27, 2012

JULIA NAGY | The Natchez Democrat — Pearl Morgan, who started L.I.S.T.E.N. to help young girls with self-esteem issues, poses with her graduation picture. She said graduating from high school was one of the proudest moments of her life.

NATCHEZ — Pearl Morgan wants to give back.

L.I.S.T.E.N., also known as Ladies In Search To Excel Nobly, is her way of doing just that.

The Natchez High School graduate and Tougaloo sophomore started the organization which strives to improve young girls’ self-confidence. The mentoring program will start in Provine High School in Jackson Jan. 31.

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“We’re all just really excited about it beginning,” Morgan said. “It’s very important to me.”

Morgan and 15 other mentors, will meet with approximately 15 students from various grades every Thursday until the end of the semester.

They’ll sometimes meet to watch movies, write in journals or just vent about what’s going on in their lives.

They will also participate in community service events. Their first community act is on Valentine’s Day at a nursing home in Jackson.

Morgan came up with the idea for the organization after listening to the problems girls were having in her school.

“The key factor was me listening to a lot of girls,” Morgan said. “I felt like they needed to be heard.”

Morgan wants to help girls as they transition into being women, so they can stay on a good path.

“I see a lot of girls in college who have lost themselves and that happens when you don’t have confidence in yourself,” Morgan said.

Morgan credits confidence for keeping her on track in college.

“I was never influenced to do anything I didn’t want to do,” Morgan said. “I feel like we need to get them at a comfortable place in their lives.”

Morgan said a lack of self-confidence is a huge problem among girls. She wants to focus her program on girls who come from tough backgrounds.

“Because their background may be a broken home, they think that’s a set back,” Morgan said. “I want them to be confident and go out into the world.”

Morgan hopes to do a photo shoot with the girls and host a prom makeover.

The organization is funded by donations and out-of-pocket contributions by Morgan. She’s bought a few office supplies and some journals for the girls.

Each girl will be paired with a mentor. Mentors had to write an essay to Morgan stating why they wanted to join the program.

Morgan hopes to use her time with the students preparing them for college.

After Morgan graduates, she hopes to bring her program to Natchez and eventually to the rest of the world.

“They need a sound base for what they are going through at the time and (to) give them a comfortable environment to express themselves,” Morgan said. “We’re looking for the girls who are almost at rock bottom so we can help them off their feet.”

Morgan is the daughter of John and Gwen Morgan.

She graduated from Natchez High School in 2011.