Helping younger women have a voice

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Stockton is becoming the center of attention for revitalization projects, and another individual wants to help.

Mariah Looney, a 23 year-old business major at Delta, wants to make a difference for young women in our community.

Looney works full-time and goes to Delta full-time, but decided that wasn’t enough, so she started an organization in early January called Project GIA, or Project Girls In Action.

The organization focuses on empowering young women in the San Joaquin county area.

“It’s about girls and young women kicking ass and being able to be who they really want to be,” said Looney.

Although the organization is still in its early stages, Looney says she has received a lot of community support.

“A lot of people want to get involved,” said Looney.

She has also put in her own money for advertising on Facebook and her page has received more than 500 likes in less than two months.

Looney recently lost her mother, who was always giving back to the community.

Looney decided to put her marketing and business skills to the test and start Project GIA not only for herself, but for her mother.

“I grew up very underprivileged, I grew up on the east side, but that shouldn’t be the end of the road for anybody. So luckily I was able to have really great influences in my life to push me into the right direction and I want to be that person for somebody else,” said Looney.

Looney loves Stockton and wants to break the stigma around our community. She wants people to see that the stigma about Stockton can change if people were willing to help.

“I want a network of people to go out and reach out to that 14 year-old girl who thinks that her life is going to be nothing but what she’s used to,” said Looney.

Looney is also currently trying to build the official website for the organization and is looking for young women who would like their writing, art or photography featured on the site.

She tries to make Project GIA a priority, but with a full-time schedule, Looney says it’s difficult to manage sometimes.

Looney said she has high hopes for the future of Project GIA and is looking for a space to have formal meetings with all those who want to help.