MANTUA — For the next two weeks, girls in Gloucester and Camden counties will be taking part in a nationwide social media campaign to share their random acts of kindness with others.

But that's not the only goal of In BeTWEEN Girls, the nonprofit mentoring and scholarship program in which these teens and tweens are involved.

In BeTWEEN Girls is the brainchild of Michelle Dunk, who also works as a professional motivational speaker and mentor. When her two daughters — one now a teenager and one in those delicate tween years — were younger, Dunk saw teenage girls in her community who were dedicating their time to giving back, and becoming positive role models.

She wanted her daughters, and other girls their age, to be able to follow the example of these young, emerging leaders.

"I knew that I had not gone through the same things that they had gone through at that age: the social media, the competition, different things that they are navigating through as tweens," Dunk said.

Dunk asked some of those older girls if they would be interested in mentoring, and In BeTWEEN Girls was born.

Starting Monday and continuing through Feb. 27, mentors and mentees alike will be participating in a nationwide "Kindness Challenge," endeavoring to do things on a daily basis that don't cost anything but still make a major impact on others. The idea is to share the random acts of kindness on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, tagging either In BeTWEEN Girls or Dunk's Visionary Mentoring Group and adding #givelove to the post.

The In BeTWEEN mentors will pick winners from among those tagged posts.

The idea is similar to a "Christmas Kindness" concept Dunk tried out with her daughters years ago, where they would go around the neighborhood giving gifts, not receiving, as a way of spreading joy to different people and groups in the community.

"Letting them know how much you appreciate them, or maybe something they've done for you, that they're not aware of, that has changed your life," she said. "Little, simple things like that go a long way."

In BeTWEEN Girls operates out of New Jersey's Got Talent, a performing arts studio in Mantua, but also sponsors workshops, fundraising events, and family bonding activities at other locations in South Jersey.

For more, visit inbetweengirls.org or visionarymentoringgroup.com.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.


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