The power of female relationships is truly at the heart of include(her). With a focus on the value of friendship, Emily Garness (founder), shared this as the catalyst for establishing the organization. From her own experiences as a sister of four girls to the relationships she has developed as an adult, Emily is a “Huge believer in the power of female relationships and the strength in learning from other women.” This belief became even more evident for Emily as she reflected on her relationship with one of her best friends, Abby.
Emily met Abby at Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN), where they both work. They were paired as unified partners in the SOMN SOfit Health Promotion Program. A partnership, that quickly blossomed into an amazing friendship. As Emily describes, “We started hanging out socially, I got to know her friends, and she got to know my friends. Our social circles grew, both of our lives changes for the better, it was a win/win.” The authenticity of this relationship cannot be missed. Their relationship is real and genuine, where each contributes to and gains from its value.
Recognizing this value, Emily began to wonder why this isn’t more typical. Why should women of any ability lose out on friendships, experiences, having other females to lean on and learn from? Hence, the inception of include(her), an organization that provides opportunities for women of all abilities to meet other women, develop relationships, and just have a good time. Beginning with their first meet-up for pizza in St. Paul, MN, May of 2018, include(her) has been continuing to organize monthly events for women to connect.
We had the opportunity to attend the most recent event, a joint venture with Thrive Mighty, at Surly Brewing in Minneapolis, MN. The night was filled with good food, good beer, and most importantly, good people. We left with that familiar sense of happiness that comes from spending an exciting night out meeting new people. The socialization was mutual and genuine, typical of any event we might attend.
Make no mistake, include(her) events are NEITHER a charity, NOR a volunteer opportunity. Instead they are genuine, they are real, they are simply a Girls’ Night Out, which is exactly why include(her) deserves a Shout-Out!
Christina and John
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