When you think about an organization that brings young women together from diverse backgrounds and teaches them the power in advocating for one another in the quest for gender equity, having men step in to support this mission sends a powerful message.
Meet Dan Gilson.
Dan has been with StrongHER TogetHER since its inception in June 2017 as a board member and treasurer. He works for Durham Academy as the Director of Extended Day, which is where he met ST’s co-founder, Stacey Donoghue. “I had the good fortune of working directly with Stacey’s children several years ago. Because of this, she and I started talking at school pickup most days and became friends.”
Dan went on to say that Stacey shared an idea with him for a non-profit called StrongHER TogetHER and offered him a seat on the board. “I was immediately honored and intrigued. Stacey is the kind of person whose mind is full of brilliant ideas and she has the personality, drive, and connections to make these ideas come true. Because of her charisma, it was easy to say, ‘Sure, show me how I can help!’”
Dan is a husband, the father of three daughters, a foster parent, and an educator. He sees the difference ST is making in Durham and beyond. He describes it as “an honor” and “awe-inspiring” to work alongside Stacey and the group of adults, young women, and girls that she has gathered to support this mission of bringing everyone together, “no matter how different we are.”
Says Stacey of Dan, “Dan has been an ardent supporter and a consistent leader of our program since StrongHER TogetHER’s earliest days. As a father of three daughters, Dan has always recognized the importance of urging them past stereotypical relationship challenges and instead embracing this notion of collective power in the fight for equity.
Like many men who are associated with our program, he believes we will see our best world if girls and women can soar. In his role as a board member, we have been able to count on Dan no matter how high the weeds, no matter how deep the muck. He is a part of our family we value more than words can say. We are so grateful for his steadfast commitment to StrongHER TogetHER, to the community, and above all, to this family of powerful, smart, amazing ladies.”
*StrongHer TogetHer is a non-profit based in Durham, NC that connects a network of diverse young women, teaching them to advocate for one another in the quest for gender equity. Today the organization is in over 20 area elementary and middle schools. Girls in this program represent a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and socioeconomics. Through mentoring, service learning, and just plain fun, the girls are realizing they are more the same than different.
Through introductions to activism and anti-racism discussions, the girls are finding their voices in support of one another and in support of the world. Proud of our partnerships with schools, universities, non-profits, and families alike, this community team is showing girls how to become strong women how to collectively advocate for their own equity, and most of all, how to change the world for the better. Together.