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SPIRITED WOMAN Q & A
MARLOW WYATT, FOUNDER OF THE GIRL BLUE
Friday, May 18, 2007
met Marlow Wyatt because of Roz Browne, the comedienne,
who has attended several Spirited Woman Workshops. Roz said,
"Hey Nancy, you just got to check The Girl Blue Project
out. Go to their fundraiser. You'll be knocked out by the
girls' performances and Marlow is the best." Okay,
Roz, I'll go, I said. So on a Sunday afternoon I drove to
Hollywood, sat in a theater, and cried tears of inspiration
for these uplifting girls and their director. Roz, was right,
I was knocked out.
Marlow is the founder and director of The Girl Blue Project,
a self-awareness program for teenage girls whose purpose
as stated is "committed to awakening the truest potential
in young women by empowering them to embrace who they are
and giving them the tools to create whom they choose to
A native of Kansas City, Marlow worked as a performer, writer
and director for many youth programs in Washington D.C.
and New York before moving to LA. But it wasn't until she
volunteered as a tutor in the school system here, and became
really frustrated by its limitations that this B.F.A. magna
cum laude graduate of Howard University decided to take
a stand and do something about it. Three years later, Marlow's
highly creative mind, body, and spirit oriented project
has taught more than 50 girls, from ages 14-18.
For seven weeks during the summer, the program combines
yoga, a self-awareness circle, creative writing, etiquette,
acting, music, coaching, money management, community service,
and more to teach the girls to value themselves by promoting
discipline, non-judgment, self-acceptance, and self-discovery.
It is a marvelous concept.
Each year, it costs $10,000 to run The Girl Blue Project.
Marlow takes no salary, and presently the program is $5,000
short of funds. For those of you who are deeply inspired
by this story (as I am), I urge you to contact Marlow. Her
vision is making a huge difference for our children. Now,
Q. Was there an event or inspirational moment that led you
to found The Girl Blue Project?
A. I was a was a tutor for the LA Times' Reading by 9 Program
and I worked in an elementary school and I tutored a young
girl who was dyslexic. She ended up being my special student
because she was so far behind. She was in the 5th or 6th
grade and reading on a 2nd grade level. How she got to the
6th grade I will never know and they were actually going
to pass her on to middle school even though they knew she
couldn't read and that she wasn't ready and didn't understand
basic words like "there." It really kind of broke
my heart. I would come home everyday and I'd call my friend
and complain what the school wasn't doing and then I realized
I was just being one of those people who were just being
reactive and not pro-active. Instead of complaining, I thought
I can do something. And so I started The Girl Blue Project
and I literally put the curriculum together and everything
else in one month. It was very much if you build it they
will come. I went door to door to advertise to let people
know that I was starting a free program and that their girls
Q. What is The Girl Blue Project?
A. It is a self-awareness program for teenage girls. It
is really developed to nurture the girls from the inside
out. Something that I think we need in our school system
in order to build their self-esteem so that they are more
open and less fearful of learning, that they are not worried
about body image and all of these things that they should
not be concerned with while they're in school trying to
learn and grow as human beings on this planet. A woman's
worth in this country right now is how she looks as opposed
to a man's worth. So a woman who is beautiful, voluptuous
can get further along financially and is treated quite differently
than girls who are not considered beautiful by today's standards.
We have so many things in the media telling us to change
- which in turn tells the girls that they are not good enough,
which builds low self-esteem, which affects every single
thing that they do. So that is what The Girl Blue Project
is working toward helping the girls live up to their fullest
potential of every aspect of themselves starting from the
Q. What is the underlying concept it teaches the
A. We teach them self-worth. We combine it with the performing
arts and community service where they are trained by KorehLA
to actually tutor elementary kids once a week. Also, self-awareness
is three-fourths of the program so they have a life coach.
We do a lot of work books on body image and family and their
connections. A lot of them have issues with men because
they don't have fathers in their lives. We work with them
really where they are. Each group seems to have its own
personality, so each group of girls is dealt with on an
individual basis - that's why we don't take more than 20
Q. Why the name Girl Blue - what does it signify?
A. It actually comes from a poem I've written called "Blue,"
about a girl whose name was Blue and she had been molested
by a cousin of hers and she was a very smart girl - but
she managed out of all the things that happened to her as
a child to grow into this young woman who really knew who
she was and lived up to her fullest potential. She did good
things with her life. So it was really a combination of
people I knew growing up and things that had happened to
them. Girl Blue is really not just one person.
Q. Why do you choose such books as The Four Agreements
and Don't Give It Away as the basis for your curriculum?
A. "The Four Agreements" actually was a book I
saw on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She talked about how the
book changed her life and it made me go out and get it.
It changed my life completely. It's a very simple book,
not complicated. Anybody at any age can understand, if it
is explained to them. It teaches you to take responsibility
for your life. And there literally are just four simple
agreements: be impeccable with your word, don't make assumptions,
always do your best, and don' take anything personally.
But it goes into depth about what that means and how it
will affect your life. So that you can live a peaceful and
happy and fulfilled life. "Don't Give it Away"
is a work book specifically designed for teen girls and
it really has a lot of affirmations in it about being beautiful
and how you truly feel and expressing that.
Q. You are very close to your parents - what is
the one major life lesson that they taught you?
A. To give unconditionally, and that it doesn't take money
to make something work it takes a commitment. And one thing
that I can say about my parents were that they were very
committed to me. My biological father I've only met three
times in my life. I was adopted by my mother's second husband
when I was fourteen. And that changed my life to have a
man who would take me in as his own and give me his name
and treat me as his blood. It changed my life completely.
So because of him, I know what it is to take care of somebody
else that is not your blood relative and love them and nurture
them just because. That is what we are put here on this
planet I believe. Because of him, I'm able to give that
same kind of nurturing to these girls who are not my relatives.
Q. How are you able to take seven weeks off from
your other work and still support yourself?
A. Well, I work in the theater. Last year I'd leave Girl
Blue and go directly to my job. They would allow me to do
this - because they actually support the program, which
means so much to me. So I saved money for this year. I work
for the Los Angeles Opera in the audience services department.
They have a whole educational program and they try to help
me with grants and anything else I might possibly need since
we are at such a young stage. Right now, I work seven days
a week. I work at Girl Blue during the week and I don't
get paid for that. I also work full time at my job on the
Q. How is The Girl Blue Project funded and has that
been a difficult process for you?
A. It's been challenging. I honestly can's say it's been
difficult. Originally, it was funded mostly by me. I had
saved a lot of money. My parents would give me money over
the years and I would save. I would say in the beginning,
I begged, borrowed, and stole everything I could get to
start the program. And the first two years I worked another
job and took the money from that job and put it into the
program. But people started giving me money once we got
our 501 C3 the second year. I have friends that are in the
business that have TV shows and things like that and so
they know me - and they would write checks to support the
program. A lot of the instructors are working at such a
low scale - their resumes are just beyond - but they believe
in what we're doing. That's how we do it - individual donations.
For our seven week program, we've been working on an operating
budget of $10,000 or less. Currently for this year, I still
need $5,000. It will work. We'll get it together.
Q. What is your ultimate goal with The Girl Blue
A. I would really like to expand it. All the girls want
an after school program. They don't like that once this
is done it's done. Because we don't have the funding, I
can't do this everyday. That's really the ultimate go is
to have it all year round and then eventually expand it
to do certain things - I want these girls to travel - to
take trips to South Africa to build villages and things
like that. Stuff that will build character and teach them
about other parts of the world. I want them to know that
even at 14 you can make a large difference in somebody's
life. I want them to have field trips and projects where
everything that is done - is done by them, so they can really
realize what they are capable of.
Q. Marlow, why do you feel that you are a Spirited
A. I feel that I am a spirited woman because I am very connected
to human beings on this planet. I feel that I am a spirited
woman because I am strong and fearless. I am confident and
I am connected in a way that is not on this level. That
I am truly connected to the spirit and the spirit that I
was born with for the first time in my life and it took
me a long time to get here, but I feel the connection. I've
never been happier in my life and I don't have things. I
have very little and I'm the happiest I've ever been.
THANK YOU MARLOW. YOUR VISION IS MAKING A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Marlow welcomes hearing from you and she wants you to know
that ANY donation to The Girl Blue Project is dearly appreciated
at this time. You can actually make a donation on-line at:
www.thegirlblueproject.org. To reach Marlow by phone, call:
213-387-2053 or via e-mail at:
L A Watts Times Article
In the Spirit with The Girl Blue Project
By Erika A. McCarden
Thursday, May 4, 2006 7:40 AM PDT
LOS ANGELES-Be Impeccable With Your Word. Don't Take Anything
Personally. Don't Make Assumptions. Always Do Your Best.
Marlow Wyatt uses this formula as a motivational tool to
teach teen girls self-awareness, social and life improving
|THE GIRL BLUE PROJECT-Participants
from The Girl Blue Project's 2005 program relax with
yoga techniques. The 2006 session begins in July.
"They're from 'The Four Agreements,' which was written
by Don Miguel-Ruiz," said Wyatt. "I learned about
it while watching 'Oprah' one day. Ellen [DeGeneres] was
on and she kept raving about this book that changed her
life. I bought it and it was incredible. In fact, if I'd
had it when I was 14, I would have been one bad little girl."
"Bad" meaning "good," of course.
Wyatt instead introduced the book to students of The Girl
Blue Project, a spiritually based, nonprofit organization
she founded three years ago. The seven-week, comprehensive
program teaches teen girls self-awareness, discipline, non-judgment
and self-discovery in a creative environment taught by industry
A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Wyatt worked as a performer,
writer and director for many youth programs in Washington,
D.C. and New York before relocating to Los Angeles. Her
life took an unexpected detour after serving as a longtime
volunteer tutor for the Reading by 9 School Partnership
"During that time I really studied how the girls socialized,
their behavior toward each other, and how they valued looks
and image. It's something society has taught them...to value
looks," said Wyatt. "I also saw firsthand plenty
of children fall by the wayside because of bureaucracy and
neglect. The classrooms are overcrowded. The kids aren't
getting individual attention. Many can't read. We live in
the richest country and our kids can't read? And then there
are those children who have difficulty understanding our
language and culture. All of these are kids all getting
passed through the system, and they're rightfully angry."
Wyatt left the program and went to work on creating a unique
educational program for teen girls. She called up friends,
solicited their services and used her savings to scout out
property, devise a curriculum and create a payroll. To spread
the word, she walked door-to-door down Wilshire Boulevard
and passed flyers out to various businesses, hair salons
and restaurants. She also spoke on radio station 102.3 KJLH
and conducted an E-blast.
"I told myself I could do this," she said. "I
asked my friends to give me just two days a week of their
time, for seven weeks. I got someone to lead an acting workshop,
and someone to lead the yoga classes. Everyone was really
behind me on this. The greatest blessing of all was our
space. I'd been looking all over, and a friend's mother
owned a preschool with a dance studio upstairs that wasn't
being used. It contained a full kitchen, a creative room
and a self-awareness room, and there was parking in the
back. They told me I could have it for free. That was all
I needed. I opened The Girl Blue Project in just one month."
The Girl Blue Project, named after a poem Wyatt wrote,
operates on a schedule similar to that of a main school
curriculum. In July and August, for seven consecutive weeks,
no more than 20 students are accepted to attend Monday through
Friday, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The curriculum includes
nine teachers who lead sign language, creative writing,
dance, yoga, journal writing, acting and etiquette classes.
While attending the program, the students are required
to read "The Four Agreements," Iyanla Vanzant's
"Don't Give It Away," Ron Clark's "The Essential
55," and "The Writings of Florence Scovel Shinn."
In the concluding week, students enjoy a theater performance
based on their experiences during the program. Additionally,
their poems and shorts stories written during the program
are compiled into a book and made available at the performance.
"We open up every morning with yoga and meditation,
then we lead into what is called The Circle, where the girls
freely discuss everything from peer pressure to body image,
sexuality, divorce, racism, religion and politics. They're
very socially and politically aware, and have a lot to express,"
Community Service is also a major component of The Girl
Blue Project. Once a week the students are teamed with children
of the Koreh L.A. literacy program to tutor grade school
"The girls really feel proud about helping other children
learn how to read. The students in this program are very
diverse, mostly blacks and Latinas, although we've had other
races participate," she said. "They're from all
over Los Angeles, too, including Orange County, Pasadena
and Long Beach. I even had two girls from New York. I want
people to understand that this is not a disadvantaged youth
program. This program is open to all teens, no matter what
they're background is. Some of the students are from private
schools, and some are from group homes and alternative schools.
It's for everyone."
The Girl Blue Project is free to girls ages 14 to 18. Students
are selected based on their application, interview and ability
to attend the program fulltime for seven weeks. The application
deadline is June 30 for the 2006 session, which is from
July 5 through Aug. 18 at 2501 Wilshire Blvd., second floor.
"Each year, we get better and better. The girls really
enjoy it and they're never bored. No one is forcing them
to be here, and no one is paying them. It's impossible for
them not to learn anything in the program," said Wyatt.
"I made a decision to be pro-active instead of re-active.
I designed The Girl Blue Project to nurture the spiritual
development of our young women. I really see the change
in these girls each year, and it's what makes me want to
For more information about The Girl Blue Project, contact
(213) 387-2053 or access www.thegirlblueproject.org.