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Girls Inc. of Lynn on June 4 honored its Girl Hero Scholars during a beautiful Zoom celebration. The 30-minute event featured 2020 Strong, Smart, and Bold Honoree Suzanne Iovanna, president of Pride Motor Group, Lani Sanethong, Girls Inc. of Lynn alumna, and Emmy Award-winning anchor on NBC 10 Boston Latoyia Edwards. The celebration also provided an update of how Girls Inc. of Lynn has pivoted to creatively bring online education, activities, and programs to local youth.

Girls Inc. provides programming that helps equip girls ages five through eighteen with the tools they need to overcome barriers and grow up Strong, Smart, and Bold. Girls learn to develop their whole selves, live healthy and active lifestyles, and receive support to navigate challenges.

“We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our Girl Hero Scholars, hear from our Strong Smart and Bold Honoree, and give you a glimpse of how our team is staying connected with our girls at this unprecedented time,” says executive director Deb Ansourlian. “We are grateful to our many supporters who continue to inspire our girls to be stronger, smarter, and bolder.” 

Meet the Girl Hero Scholars

Fatoumata “Haja” Ba

Fatoumata “Haja” Ba is a senior at KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate. A staple leader in her community and school, as a senior Haja was elected as executive president of the Student Council and into the National Honor Society. Active involvement in her school’s Black History Month events led  Haja to co-found her KIPP’s first Black Student Union. She has planned and facilitated multiple events and fundraisers that promote the academic excellence and cultural prosperity of Black students at her school. 

Haja has been active at Girls Inc. since the sixth grade. In eighth grade, she was awarded the middle school Girls Inc. National Scholarship. As a junior, Haja became a co-facilitator of a social justice-based afterschool program called Woke Women and, co-facilitates and plans weekly program meetings for high school girls.

Syeeda Rahman

Syeeda Rahman is a senior at Lynn English High School. She moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh 10 years ago. She has been team captain of English’s mock trial and science team for two years. She is also a homeroom representative, secretary of Latin Club, an officer for the Asian American Club, and a member of the National Honor Society. 

At Girls Inc. Syeeda works as a Teen Health Ambassador to teach young girls about reproductive health. She has hosted events such as World AIDS Day, National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day, and has presented at Take Back the Night events. With the support of this nationwide organization, she spoke before the School Committee during its public forums on the contraceptive ban in Lynn Public Schools. Syeeda has also worked on the Taking Action campaign and the Mental Health Awareness campaign at Girls Inc. After high school, she plans to pursue a double major in political science and public health with a minor in psychology. Syeeda hopes for a career in law where she can help create policies to help low-income communities.

Caloline Namutebi 

Caloline Namutebi is a senior at Lynn English High School who moved here from Uganda in January 2019. At Girls Inc. she has attended programs including Career Path, Teen Leadership Academy, Woke Women, and Senior and Junior Mentoring.  She is currently a Teen Health Ambassador at Girls Inc. Caloline worked at North Shore Medical Center Salem as a catering associate to orient herself to working in a hospital and with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She also participated in the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program at Harvard Medical School.

Girls Inc. of Lynn thanks the sponsors of its Annual Celebration Luncheon, including Strong Sponsors: Comcast, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Old Neighborhood Foods, Someone Else’s Child Foundation and United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimack Valley; Smart Sponsors: The CE & FCA Foisy Foundation, GE Aviation, HP Hood, and Nick and Chris Meninno; and Bold Sponsors: DeIulis Brothers Construction Co., Inc., D & R Contracting, Harmony Healthcare International, Inc., Northshore magazine, Pride Motor Group, Salem Five Charitable Foundation, and Solimine Funeral Homes.