June 10, 2004.
The Girl Blue Project is now a 501 (c)(3) organization

I am happy to announce that The Girl Blue Project is officially a non-profit organization. I just received notification from the IRS today. Your donations are tax deductible by law! I want to thank all of you for your support past, present and future. Girl Blue is growing because of you and I really appreciate it. So again thank you all. Peace and blessings to you.

Marlow Wyatt

Contact Us:
The Girl Blue Project
432 S. New Hampshire Avenue
Suite 503
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Newsletter Archive: 2003 GBP News | 2004 GBP News | 2005 GBP News | 2006 GBP News


Friday, May 18, 2007

I 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 be."

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, read on.

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 were welcome.
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 inside.
Q. What is the underlying concept it teaches the girls?
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 per session.
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 weekends.
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 Project?
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 Woman?
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.


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 skills.

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 professionals.

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 Program.

"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," said Wyatt.

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 children.

"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 continue."

For more information about The Girl Blue Project, contact (213) 387-2053 or access www.thegirlblueproject.org.

Home | Girl Blue Then and Now | Gratitude | Donate to Girl Blue | Newsletter | Articles | Contact Us
2004 thegirlblueproject.org, All rights reserved