Local founder of mentoring program gets letter from White House

(Source: Girlie Girls Mentoring Program)
(Source: Girlie Girls Mentoring Program)

Anita Barker has a passion for helping children. As a support coordinator at Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, she helps manage their reading center and ensures kids get all the help and education they need.

As long as Barker could remember, she wanted to be more involved with helping young girls.

"In high school," Barker said. "I've always wanted to do something pertaining to girls."

Barker is the founder of the Girlie Girls mentoring Program, a local non-profit organization in the Lake Charles area designed to help young girls.

Their mission is to nurture girls in the community to help them achieve their full potential and become active members of their communities. The program ensures year round mentoring and various trainings.

One day, during a routine email check, she received a letter that changed her life.

"I decided to check my email," Barker said. "And there it was. It was a message from the White House."

It wasn't just any message; the email was from the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama.

Barker has since then framed a copy of the letter and hung it in her home to keep her motivated. She says it inspires her every day.

Aside from managing the Girlie Girls program, her work at the charter academy does not go unnoticed.

Alexis Marsh, kindergarten teacher at Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, donates to the Girlie Girls program and says she's a big fan of Barker's work.

"She has such an amazing heart and compassion," says Marsh. "She wants to make a difference in young girl's lives and we need it today. The way our society is, we need some good, positive role models. That's exactly what she is."

Lorette Bass, principal of Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, says they academy would not be able to function without Barker.

"It's impossible to get everything done without her and she's so proficient," said Bass. "She goes in 100% and she gets the job done."

Bass says she was excited to hear the news of Barker's letter.

"I'm extremely proud to know that she has touched our lives and we are touching hers," said Bass. "I know this is just a stepping stone. I want to be able to say I know that person."

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