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Spending time with the girls

Teen volunteers her talents with Girls Inc.

Teen volunteers her talents with Girls Inc.

September 02, 2005|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN

tiffanya@heraldmail.com

Martrice McCall is tall, wiry and soft-spoken, but she smiles often.

Sometimes, that's all she needs to put an entire room of little girls at ease.

Martrice, 15, of Hagerstown, is a frequent volunteer at Girls Inc., a nonprofit group that offers programs for girls 18 and younger.

She helps cook meals, serves as a teacher's aide and often leads group activities. Her favorite game is "Cat and Mouse."

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She is also a spokesperson for Girls Inc. Martrice, who was active in youth sports at Girls Inc., spoke about the importance of Title IX last May for the nation's lawmakers at a sports conference in Washington D.C., said Girls Inc. associate director Laurel Good.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is legislation that bans sex discrimination in schools, whether it be in academics or athletics.

"We chose her because she's been here so long, she's a part of the woodwork," Good said. "Martrice is such a good role model for the girls. She's so patient with them."

Martrice is at Girls Inc. at least once a week, usually working with 40 to 50 girls in a day, Good said.

The North Hagerstown High School sophomore is like most teenage girls. She lives to shop, values having lots of friends and worries about boys.

But most of all, Martrice enjoys working with the children at Girls Inc.

"I like it here," she said. "They're like my family, like sisters."

She said she volunteers because she feels it's an obligation.

"The community helps you," she said. "You have to give back."

Martrice said she was a member of Girls Inc. until she entered high school last year. Her great-grandmother, Eunice McCall, 74, first took her there when she was in third grade.

McCall takes care of Martrice and her sister, Raven, 8. McCall said Martrice has been involved in community service since she was very little.

"You can't have your hand out for everything," she said. "If you give, you're paid for it. It may not be with cash, but you're paid for it some kind of way."

McCall said she's "very strict" when it comes to raising the girls because of the pressures they face.

"Things are so much different for young people now," she said. "It's not like it was 74 years ago."

She said she terminated cable TV service for three months because they were watching programs of which she didn't approve.

"I got it cut back on last week," McCall said. "We'll see how it goes."

Martrice said she didn't mind that her grandmother is strict, and she smiled coyly every time her named was mentioned.

"I would say my grandma is strict," she said. "She's just making sure things are best for me and my sister. I don't know what I'd be doing without her."

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