Community Gem: Rev. Dawn Martin helps pave way to college for young girls

The Rev. Dawn Martin, middle, with two of her mentees from Girls Empowered and Mentored to Success
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The Rev. Dawn Martin, middle, with two of her mentees from Girls Empowered and Mentored to Success

TROTWOOD — When the Rev. Dawn Martin was growing up, she was not given the resources to help her achieve one of her ultimate goals: getting a college degree. Now, after starting college at age 34, she has two masters degrees, and has created a program to help young women go to college.

Martin, 52, founder of the organization Girls Empowered and Mentored to Success was nominated to be honored as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by friend, Donovan Benton.

“Dawn is not only an amazing mother and grandmother, but she is fully committed to the betterment of the people in her community,” Benton said.

Girls Empowered and Mentored to Success was created by Martin in 2007 with a mission to mentor young women and their families with a mission to get them to college. Women can apply to be a part of the program in sixth grade, and they are mentored up until they graduate high school.

Some of the things Martin works on with the girls is etiquette, self esteem building, academics, family issues, and giving them community resources so that they can be successful. Martin is also passionate about teaching girls about the dangers of bullying and how to stop girl on girl violence.

“You can’t change what has happened, but you can transition it into something better and for the good,” Martin said is a mantra she teaches her girls.

Martin has had the opportunity to mentor over 35 young women since the start of G.E.M.S., and 30 of those women have now gone off to college. Seeing these young women achieve their goals is what motivated Martin to get her degree.

“I couldn’t have expectations of them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself,” she said. “So at age 34, I started at Sinclair, and now I have two masters degrees under my belt.”

Martin is excited that her programs has been able to help so many young women in the community. She is getting ready for a program relaunch since she is down to the last two mentees from the 35 she started with in 2007.