Being a teenage girl can be difficult.
Being a teenage girl with someone to talk to, confide in and learn from can make life less so.
That’s why Tyra Moore founded A Girl Like Me Inc., a local nonprofit for teenage girls serving the broader community. Moore, who lives in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood, had her first child when she was 15. At the time, she was afraid to tell anyone she was pregnant — missing the opportunity for prenatal care and baby preparation at home. Moore said she was able to care for her newborn only due to the kindness of neighbors and family friends who donated baby clothes, diapers and other needs when she brought her daughter home from the hospital.
Now an established mom, Moore said she wants to give back to the community that supported her young family. A Girl Like Me hosts community events where she gives baby supplies and clothing for children to new moms.
Moore said the items were donated from other Detroiters and the teenagers in A Girl Like Me will put together care packages.
“I really felt overwhelmed, because I couldn’t believe that everyone had really come together like that for me because I didn’t tell anyone,” Moore said, recalling the day she brought her daughter home and saw the generosity of her neighbors.
She says she knows there are other young mothers and teen girls who could benefit from someone to talk to and lean on in times of need, and she wants to be that source. Moore was awarded a Detroit Spirit Award from the Detroit City Council in May for her work.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic Moore was laid off from her job and decided to use her savings to found A Girl Like Me. The first community giveaway was in August 2020, when family and friends donated diapers, baby formula and clothing. Moore said she posted fliers around her neighborhood and shared information on Facebook to get the community involved.
Last November, she began meeting with teens ages 12 to 17. Every Saturday, Moore, with the help of another mom, meets with 10 young Detroiters to talk about things the teenagers don’t necessarily want to discuss with their parents, things they may not know how to share with friends, and answer questions they may not have anyone else to get answers from.
The group is mainly high school students, with the recent addition of one middle schooler who said her mom suggested she join A Girl Like Me to meet new young women outside her school. The middle schooler said she had felt stressed and left out at school, but said the other teenagers at A Girl Like Me were welcoming.
“Girls don’t have someone to talk to, and I wish that I had the services that I’m providing through the baby program and the mentoring when I was 15,” Moore said.
In October, the group had discussions about controlling their emotions, conflict mediation, and how to navigate relationships– like if their best friend makes new friends without them. The teenagers talked about how they would have felt, and what to do and say to avoid or reduce conflict.
“I like the bonding and sisterhood and how we can really just talk about anything here,” said Sarai, 14. “And I like it when we go out and have field trips.”
The group recently received donated tickets to the Millennium Tour and have gone on other excursions, like the apple orchard. All of the students attend schools across the city and feel Moore’s space is a place to discuss feeling left out, bullying, the different dynamics of teen relationships and pregnancy prevention.
Visit A Girl Like Me to donate or for additional information.