My new book, Prudence in Hollywood, will be released June 1. A collection of fourteen short stories explores the often humor-filled matrix of modern American relationships. Intended for an adult audience, three of the stories are about coming of age, about who we are and how we come to be.

Alpha Girl, the final story, is the first person account of a teenager named Allie. The story was a thousand words in January when I shared with my Loveworks Leadership Story Express mentoring group, six amazing middle school girls. They listened intently to every sentence. When I finished one asked, “Will you write about us?” That was a peak life moment. I caught myself. “Of course,” I said, inspired to expand Alpha Girl accordingly.

In the weeks that followed the girls shared their challenges, their hopes and dreams. My mission with each group is to encourage their self-awareness and creativity, to strengthen their hearts and minds so they may lead by example. A friend once asked if I was paid for mentoring. I laughed. I would pay for the privilege of mentoring these students, the most satisfying work of my career.

The final session we made gratitude cards, meaningful gifts for friends or parents or themselves. The group was animated and engaged when I opened the box of markers, stickers and pencils. I marveled at how they expressed themselves, thought of my mother, the gift of story and how she had encouraged me. I imagined she was beside me, as I often do, sharing that moment of gratitude and witnessing those young spirits take flight. 

Happy Mother’s Day.