Someone You Should Know: Lydia Jagodzinski

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:02 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:03 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — This week’s “Someone You Should Know” feature is about a woman who is on a mission to empower young girls.

Lydia Jagodzinski believes the work she puts in now will make the world a better place in a few years, as the girls she mentors grow.

“I just think it so important that girls know their value and their worth,” Jagodzinski stated.

As youth programming coordinator for the YWCA of Mankato, she oversees the Girls on the Run and Girls Inc., programs, in addition to a program that lets girls explore campus and college life for a day, all in a supportive environment.

“When girls get to be in this environment that is all girls, pro girls and be physically safe and emotionally secure for who they are, they can be empowered to say ‘Yes, I can be whatever I want.’ Whether that’s through connecting them with females in careers they might want one day, when we can empower girls to be whatever they want, it just makes our world a better place,” Jagodzinski explained.

Jagodzinski found her calling and passion in life early, hoping to be like the role models she had growing up.

“I have been lucky to have so many female mentors in my life, that really helped make me who I am today. And so I just started doing it and working with girls in our community and just really saw that ‘okay, this is what I love’ and I want to make sure they know they are loved and can really do whatever they set their mind to.”

It comes from her heart, but she has the numbers to back her up.

“Research shows that 85% of female youth, in general, are more successful, more willing to set life goals when they have a female mentor or role model in their life. In Minnesota, only 33% actually have one. So when we get to create those spaces for youth in our community, it is just helping them succeed as much as they can,” Jagodzinski stated.

She models that for these young ladies. Jagodzinski is involved in the Rotary Club of Greater Mankato, Minnesota Valley Civitan, Girl Scouts, Big/Brother Big Sister program, and this year she even took her platform to the stage in the Miss Mankato pageant, where she finished first runner-up.

“They think it is the coolest thing. They knew it was coming up and they were wanting to see pictures and said ‘you’ll have to wear your crown if you win.’ And I was like, ‘okay, but it is not about winning, it’s about advocating what’s meaningful to me,’” Jagodzinski recalled.

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