TAMPA, Fla. - Young girls can struggle with having positive self-esteem, but Nyasha Jones is helping break that cycle for Bay Area girls.
She is mentoring young girls through the GEMS program, or Girls Empowered Mentally for Success.
"Just to let them know that there is a support system here and they can get through anything," Jones explains.
She knows all too well what it's like to be a teenager making bad choices. When she was 13, her parents divorced and she says her life spun out of control.
"In trying to make some friends, I made the wrong kind of friends so I got mixed up with a bad group of kids, you know, drugs, alcohol, skipping school, stuff like that," she recalled.
Jones' mom had a friend who had a non-profit that builds up self-esteem in young girls -- GEMS.
"I thought if I could get them to have goals and say 'no,' I could prevent them from becoming part of the criminal justice system," said Crystal Bailes, founder of GEMS.
Bailes founded the non-profit in 2003. The organization's focus is to mentor girls by providing social and emotional wellness classes.
"Having the support someone to bounce it off on someone, to say, 'Hey, that's a great idea. Have you thought about this?' That's what we do best," Bailes said.
GEMS is creating a safe space for young girls to be successful.
Girls ages 10-17 are eligible for the program, which has mentored more than 1,000 girls so far. Next month, they are having a Homes for the Holidays fundraising campaign. For information or ways to help, visit www.girlsrgems.org.