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MAKING A MARK: Woman creates mentoring group to inspire middle school girls

Dawn Williams, a media specialist a Ruffner Middle in Norfolk, created the "Ruffner Rubies" Mentoring Group to motivate and encourage girls at her school.

NORFOLK, Va. — Rubies are precious gemstones that symbolize power and positive energy. And those are just the type of values Dawn Williams hopes to instill in her seventh and eighth-grade girls.

I was just watching the girls, some of their actions. And sometimes, you'd see them, they look very down," says Williams, a media specialist at Ruffner Middle in Norfolk. 

She wanted to do something to uplift the jewels in her school.

"When somebody at your school shows you that they love you, that you're important, I think that makes somebody feel like, 'Oh, I must be really special!', says Williams. 

A few years after Williams first created the concept, the 'Ruffner Rubies' Mentoring Group came to fruition. 

"I just wanna try to impact their knowledge of who they are," says Williams.

The Ruffner Rubies attend monthly 'Lunch & Learn" sessions with guest speakers and gifts. 

They also wear motivational shirts, customized to their personalities. "Our focus is on self-awareness, self-respect, self-expression, self-control," says Williams.

She hopes her enthusiasm and encouragement gets each Ruby one step closer to uncovering their brilliance. "If they try hard, there is nothing that they cannot achieve," says Williams.

For more information about Ruffner Rubies, email Williams dwilliams5@nps.k12.va.us.

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