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Girls Inc. presents ‘Girl of the Year’ award to winner

Organization celebrates teen's great feats

Telegraph photo by MATHEW PLAMONDON Girls Inc. Girl of the Year Wanja Mwangi stands with the organization’s CEO Cathy Duffy-Cullity, left, and the Nashua center’s Director Makenzie Bilodeau after receiving her award.

NASHUA – While maturing during her time at Girls Inc., Wanja Mwangi has shown staff members at the Nashua center that she deserves the Girl of the Year Award.

Mwangi, a 14-year-old freshman at Nashua High School North, has been going to Girls Inc. since she was 8. She has a record of performing well when helping the at the center’s main office, answering phones and handling check-ins.

Friday, an emotional Mwangi stepped up in front of her peers, staff members and younger girls as she accepted her award from last year’s Girl of the Year, Myasiah Ortiz.

“I feel so excited. I’m so thankful to be girl of the year,” Mwangi said after accepting the award. “I’m really happy that I get to show girls that if you work hard, you will succeed. And if you really do try, you will become girl of the year if you really work hard and respect other people.”

Mwangi is described by center Director Makenzie Bilodeau as pleasant and kind, not only to staff, but especially her peers. Mwangi said she really wanted to show that she has matured, and while she still wants to be able to be a kid at heart, she wants to make more responsible decisions and act as a role model to the girls at the center.

Bilodeau said though Mwangi has always shown signs of leadership, in the past, she mostly just associated among her own group of friends. However, the past year proved to be a turning point, as she proved to be a valuable member of the center and a leader other girls could admire.

“She has really matured into a leader this year – she’s gotten Girl of the Month a couple of times in the past, which you need to to do be considered for Girl of the Year,” Bilodeau said.

“She is so wonderful and we are so proud of who she’s become,” Bilodeau added.

During the awards ceremony, the Nashua center also recognized the other 11 girls who received Girl of the Month Awards during the past year: Christine Komi, Cadence Robinson, Ashley Rivera-Vidal, Krisangelli Marquez, Ashleigh Motuzas, Angelina Sampson, Rosbeily CePeda, Natalie Ray, Adryanna DeJesus, Serenity Andino and Zoey Robinson.

Girls Inc., which caters to more than 2,000 young girls from ages 5 to 18 throughout the Granite State, is an organization that aims to empower girls through positive experiences. Its programs include arts and athletics.

The Nashua branch, which has more than 90 individuals who utilize the center from both within the city and beyond, has even been able to extend its outreach. The program reaching more girls by working through the schools.