'Girl Vow' helps girls across NYC impacted by the juvenile, criminal justice system

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A nonprofit has helped hundreds of girls over the past five years across the city through mentorship to change the course of their lives.

Dawn Rowe created Girl Vow to help girls 12 to 24 years old impacted by the criminal and juvenile justice system, foster system and poverty through mentorship.

The office is in The Hub in the Bronx, but the impact is citywide.

As a former gang member, Miranda (whose real identity News 12 has kept private) wants her story told loud and clear.

At 15 years old she was making bad decisions, getting into gang life and was arrested for the first time.

“My behaviors, the crimes I was committing all got worse. I was arrested for attempted murder,” says Miranda.

During her more than 13 months on Rikers Island, Miranda wanted this time to be different, pushing herself to make a change.

“I wanted the comfort of walls that weren't made out of cinderblock just to be home and be free,” says Miranda.

She got her G.E.D and formed a relationship with Rowe, who was running different workshops for women at Rikers.

"It's really being able to support young girls in a way where they can restart their life and think about their lives differently,” says Rowe.

Rowe tried to commit suicide at 16 years old to escape her problems, but confided in a teacher who helped change her mindset, inspiring her to help others in a similar position.

"Not just having someone who cared about me but just having that ‘a-ha’ moment that I was no longer worthless,” says Rowe.

Miranda has been working at Girl Vow as a program assistant and intake coordinator since April.

“Even though I made a whole lot of mistakes, I took a broom and a dustpan and swept up all that dirt and grime that I left behind from my past life,” says Miranda.

Miranda tells News 12 in addition to her work with Girl Vow, she's hoping in the next five years to be part of criminal justice reform.

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