They say if you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life. I’d say Melissa Grove has that locked down. She is committed to enriching community and she uses music as a vehicle. For someone that has tried to use apparel as my messenger for as long as I can remember, I can really appreciate Melissa’s approach and contribution to her community.
Inspired by the impact of the Rock ‘n Roll Camp for Girls programs, Melissa launched Rock ‘n Roll Camp for Girls San Diego. This camp brings the community together to empower girls through music. Girls Rock Camps help girls build self-esteem and find their voices through unique programming that combines music education and performance; empowerment and social justice workshops; positive role models, and collaboration and leadership skill building. In addition, Melissa is the program director for the Jason Mraz Foundation, an organization on a mission to uplift humanity through arts education and the advancement of equality.
You don’t have to look hard to see the compassion and selflessness Melissa has and this is why she exudes the “living from the inside out” mantra.
We sat down with Melissa and asked her what ultimately lead to her own self-discovery and this is what she wrote.
1) Have you always lived from the inside out?
I think I have always lived from the inside out accidentally. When I look back on everything I have accomplished it has all come from an internal place of wanting to experience those things without really knowing it. So perhaps all these experiences have shown up for me because they were aligned with my inside inspirations. I am much more aware of my internal desires and goals now and they provide me heartfelt experiences while I serve others in community work.
2) When do you feel like you really tuned in to your gifts?
I became fully aware of my gifts and strengths when I let go of comparison. Which is a daily practice by the way. I took a leadership class in 2010 that required me to create a project based on my passions and strengths. It was the first time I really understood I had gifts others didn’t have and vise versa. I stopped comparing myself to other people and focused on my own gifts, which lead me to create my dream job, and a life I love. It all seemed to emerge more organically and I embraced living an empowering life based on my unique skills.
3) What resources do you lean on when you are looking for inspiration or support?
When I look for inspiration or support I go for walks with friends to hear their stories or I meet with nonprofits and/or companies that are up to empowering work in the community. I find that just listening to human experiences motivates me to see new possibilities. I love hearing about someone’s dreams coming true or the steps they are taking to make them happen.
4) What is your secret for being such a force of good?
It’s a secret. Ha. If I had to pick one thing I work on constantly to help me as a “force of good” it would be action. If I have an idea and it improves a situation, I act on it – big or small. Sometimes we get caught up in negative self-chatter or our stories get in the way of a great idea when really, taking the first step is the most rewarding and fun part! Leap and the net will appear right?
5) What are you most proud of?
Currently, one thing I am most proud of is assembling a powerful female mentor team at Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego. In 2017 we had 25 females volunteers come together for a week to teach 39 girls ages 8 – 17 how to be empowered through music education. I was so honored these ladies gave up their whole week to become mentors. I always say I am leading leaders to lead leaders…and the power of this program does just that. I am proud to be a shared leader in this great community. Another thing I am most proud is my “personal” resume. My professional resume is great as well but my personal resume (something my Dad taught me to do) is so amazing. A few things on my personal resume: loving daughter, sister, auntie, great auntie, action taker, caretaker and advocate for youth. Not bad huh?
6) If you could share a piece of advice with someone – anyone – what would you share?
Listen. Listen to your friends, your family, our youth, our elderly and anyone who needs it. I feel listening tends to get lost now a days and really, everyone wants to be heard. Stop and listen.
7) What’s your favorite song?
Wowza, picking one is challenging. It depends on what I need at that moment. If I had to pick just one, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson continues to speak and motivate me. Also, currently “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon is on repeat as it’s fun and easy for me to play on my guitar. ☺
8) What’s your favorite thing about life?
Knowing that everyday there are so many possibilities and adventures to be had.
9) What do you do for fun?
My favorite thing to do for fun is a day at the beach playing in the ocean followed by a burrito and ending with friends and live music. Perfection.
10) What’s your favorite food?
I love Mexican food! Mainly burritos and fish tacos. Mmmmmm.
11) Who inspires you?
People who act as mentors and leaders to our youth inspire me. I truly believe we have so much to offer our youth and they have so much to offer us.
12) What is most important to you right now?
What is important to me right now is creating a space for our youth to express themselves authentically through the arts. I believe every population should have the opportunity to experience the arts and I am committed to making that happen.