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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Smarty Mom: Melissa Wellman Norman



By Rachel H

Today’s Smarty Mom was nominated by her friend, Lori Redding, and I can easily see why! Melissa is a mompreneur who has a fabulous program to tell us about and has other great ideas to share with us today as well!

Melissa moved to Winston-Salem right before high school and then attended Wake for undergrad and grad school. She and her husband, Ben, have lived in Greensboro for six years. They have one daughter, Miller, who is 8 months old. In the fall, Melissa will be working part-time, as she teaches two days a week at Greensboro Day School. Melissa also runs programs for her nonprofit organization, Girl CHARGE (Creating Habits of Acceptance, Respect & Gratitude for Everyone). This program offers social/emotional programs for upper elementary and middle school girls. Melissa is also involved in the Junior League and of course loves spending girl time with her daughter.

Here is more about Melissa …

I can’t wait for you to tell our readers more about Girl CHARGE. Please tell us exactly what it is and how you came up with this idea.
Since grad school (I received my Masters in Counseling from WFU in 2004), I’ve wanted to be involved in working with girls on reducing relational aggression, but couldn’t find an existing avenue to do so. In 2007, I decided to form my own nonprofit and offer programs through it. Girl CHARGE exists to enable girls to change our current expectations of them. Somehow, we’ve come to expect and accept the idea of the “mean girl” and have deemed it a rite of passage for girls. Rather than perpetuating the cycle of girls experiencing relational or social bullying, we work to give girls tools to handle those situations. Another goal is to help girls realize their worth and potential as individuals and deemphasize the media “ideal” presented to girls.

What has been the most rewarding part of Girl CHARGE for you?
I really enjoy working with the girls and seeing their perceptions change. This type of shift in cultural norms isn’t going to happen overnight, but watching as they begin to stand up for themselves and others is gratifying.

If someone is interested in this program, how can they bring this to their child’s school?
Email me at melissa@girlcharge.org. It’s so easy to start it up at your school, church, or within a Girl Scout troop or similar organization. Currently, I lead all of the programs with the help of volunteers.

Girl CHARGE is currently up for a Pepsi grant for $5,000 this month! We would love to help you out by voting! Where can our readers go to do so?
That would be wonderful! You can vote daily at www.pepsirefresh.com/girlchargegreensboro.

How are you able to balance a part-time job, your nonprofit, as well as other volunteer organizations and being a mom & wife?
It’s a work in progress! Teaching two days a week will give me three days to devote to Girl CHARGE and still allow me to have time home with Miller.

Since you have lived in the Triad for quite some time, please share with us what you think are the best kept secrets!
Since moving to Greensboro six years ago, we have been amazed at the great parks. We’ve tried many out for hiking, running and biking, and still have many to visit.

What is a fun fact that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I don’t know if it is that fun, but I went to four elementary schools in three different towns. The experience of being the new girl so many times probably was part of my desire to start Girl CHARGE!

What is the smartiest way you save money?
I’ve started planning our dinner menus around the weekly grocery sales. Also, just planning ahead seems to drastically reduce our spending.

What is your favorite family activity?
Hiking or walking in some of Greensboro’s parks, going to Wake football or basketball games, going out to eat.

Favorite “me-time” activity?
Running has become my favorite one recently. I don’t go very far, but it does a lot for my state of mind!

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
Brixx Pizza (it’s loud enough that Miller’s “talking” doesn’t seem to bother people!)

Favorite date night spot?
Southern Lights, Green Valley Grille

Favorite book you have read?
I don’t know about choosing just one, but Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is definitely among my top choices.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
Miller is still pretty portable, so I think I can manage lunch with her a little easier than I’ll be able to when she gets older! I like the Iron Hen, Pastabilities, and Panera Bread.

Minivan or SUV?
Neither! With one child, I’m still in a regular sedan.

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes?
Polliwogs, Lollipop Shop, Baby Gap, Target

What is your favorite mom’s must have item for around the house?
Clorox wipes!

Favorite park in the Triad?
Country Park

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on Triad Smarty Pants thus far?
The Local Resources section is great…very easy to find information on almost any topic.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
Everything is so accessible. From our house, most places we typically go in Greensboro are within ten minutes!

I could not live without my …camera! We invested in one after Miller was born, and use it all the time!

Melissa, you have shared some great information with us today and we wish you continued success with Girl CHARGE!

If you have a Smarty Mom or Dad to nominate, email us at triadsmartypants@gmail.com.


3 comments:

Lauren said...

Melissa! What a sweet girl YOU were in high school! So wonderful to see the difference you are making in others lives! Congrats on your beautiful family and accomplishments!

Lauren Davis Simons

Victoria said...

Just visited your Girl Charge website. Such a fabulous idea. Best of luck with this!!!

Catherine said...

I voted for girl charge for the pepsi grant! I hope others will do the same!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!

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