We continue our celebration of Black excellence in Girl Scouting and beyond by introducing Dr. Renee Matthews, leader in the healthcare industry, social media influencer, and Girl Scout champion. Dr. Matthews has an illustrious career: she’s been featured in Ebony and Essence magazines, was a contributing writer for Good Enough Mother, Essence, MadameNoire and Black and Married With Kids, appeared on television shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, and currently hosts the Ask Dr. Renee show, among so many other things. Dr. Matthews has a deep commitment to Girl Scouting as well, serving previously as a Daisy Girl Scout troop leader, currently as an assistant to the Service Unit Manager of SU 272, and as a mentor at Camp CEO. Read on to learn more about her!
“My mom was a Girl Scout, my grandma was, my aunts were too,” so Girl Scouting for Dr. Matthews was a family tradition. “I have severe asthma, so at the time, I had to take breathing treatments every four hours. The one time I went camping, my dad was recovering from brain surgery. Being the best mom and wife she is, [my mother] was like, ‘This girl has to go on this trip.’ She asked all seven of her sisters and they all said no.” But Dr. Matthews’ mom, knowing how important camping is to a Girl Scout, did not give up. “My mom explained [the situation] to my grandmother, who is from the island of Antigua, and in West Indian culture, they don’t do sleepovers.” Her grandmother went on the trip anyway, and years later, Dr. Matthews is a seasoned Girl Scout camper.
Dr. Matthews’ role as a Girl Scout leader came years later during Black History Month, while visiting a senior residence on the South Side of Chicago as a volunteer with the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League. “One of my friends brought all these young girls,” and after learning that they were Girl Scouts, Dr. Matthews became determined to become a leader. “Sure enough, that following September, I was in.”
Dr. Matthews is a committed advocate for women and girls, serving also as a mentor for the Save a Girl Save a World program, and is particularly concerned with addressing the health concerns of Black women. “My whole mission is to teach girls they can do anything. With a little work comes reward. I think the Girl Scouts really instills in girls that they can do whatever they put their minds to.” Dr. Matthews’ especially uses her non-traditional career as a freelance writer and public speaker as an example that Black women can carve their own paths: “Some of these girls may never meet anyone that has been on TV, or on a plane, or even left the South Side of Chicago. I want to show them, ‘I am a Black girl’, and that’s a big deal.”
Thank you to Dr. Renee Matthews for sharing her story, and make sure to follow everything she does, from podcasting, blogging, and much more.
Black History Month is just one month out of the year, but Black excellence and Black girl magic is something to be celebrated, cherished, and protected every single day. We remain committed to sharing and telling the stories of Black girls all year long.
Meet Girl Scout troop 65708, a troop dedicated to “making true-blue friends, saving the planet, standing up against stereotypes, and using their team power for the greater good.”
Meet Girl Scout volunteer Erica Cox from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and learn all about the Girl Scouts for Black Lives Instagram!
Black Girl Magic
From taking civic action for social change to expanding access to clean air and water, to championing STEM education for marginalized populations, to addressing food insecurity, there’s no limit to what Girl Scouts can do—because they show us just that.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We are asking for all Girl Scouts—girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, staff, and our suppliers and service providers—to commit to taking action to make the world a more equitable place. We have a lot of work to do—join us. You can start by signing the Girl Scout Anti-Racism Pledge.
Join the 21 Week Equity Challenge!
United Way of Grundy County and Will County are proud to join United Way of Illinois, and other local United Ways across the state to embark on the “21 Week Equity Challenge” and invites everyone to take this learning challenge.
This free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisans to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together. The “21 Week Equity Challenge” encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities.