As a teenager, Chelsea (Niemiec) Gheesling’s perspective on life was
a bit unique. She wanted to be thought
of as a “good girl.”
founder of the metro-Detroit organization Good Girl Comeback (GGCB)
is proud of that label.
“Being called a goody two-shoes
is a compliment to me,” she said. And
she wants to offer her confident worldview to young girls
as a role model.
Chelsea began her GGCB initiative
in November 2011, and since then, 150 girls have gone
through her program, which includes conference series for middle school
(3 one-day get-togethers) and a series for high school-aged
girls (4 one-day get-togethers). Her website
lists dates available through May, 2012, and soon, through December
2012. Her goal is to offer enough conference
dates to make
the program available to girls throughout southeastern
|Chelsea Gheesling, founder of Good Girl Comeback|
Faith is the Key
that most young girls are looking for their life’s fulfillment
in all the wrong ways, and she is adamant that
fulfillment comes through an active faith life.
“To learn this
– it takes hearing it from another person,” she said.
“It’s during that rebellious phase of your faith development that
you need a role model. You need to
be told you will be unhappy if you look for
fulfillment where most people do in our modern world.
will dress immodestly, gossip, need attention from boys, all to
find fulfillment. But you are not fulfilled with
these things. The only way to fulfillment is
through a relationship with God.”
Chelsea makes it clear that
faith is a component of the GGCB, though she says
girls of all faiths and even no faith have attended
and benefited from the program. But she states
emphatically that the most important time during the conference program
is in the chapel where the girls learn to pray.
|Spending time in prayer is an important part of the GGCB program|
“Throughout the day I encourage the girls to write down
anything that inspires them,” said Chelsea. “We do
a lot of journaling activities during the conference, so when
they arrive in the chapel, they can go through their
journals and talk to God about everything they wrote down.”
The Role of the Parent
Because parental guidance is so
important in a young girl’s development, Chelsea includes a session for parents at the end of each of her
GGCB conferences. In this session, parents learn about
what was covered during the GGBC program so they have
the tools to continue the conversation at home.
Chelsea, a young girl’s interest in the issues of sexuality
and the opposite sex starts in 6th grade.
think their daughters will figure things out on their own,”
said Chelsea. “They think they are doing their girls a
favor by not talking to them. But the
girls will just use the resources available -- the Internet,
TV, their peers, radio…Do you really want them to get
answers to their questions from these sources?”
“I have had heartbreaking conversations with girls,” she said, remembering
meeting one young woman whose parents forced the girl to
have an abortion. “Then they never talked to
her about it again,” she said sadly.
Chelsea said her own parents were very “open and vocal”
about these issues and about their Catholic faith.
“They talked to me about everything – sex, modesty,
drinking, drugs. Everything was on the table at
a young age,” she said.
Chelsea said her mother was
involved in all the day-to-day parts of her life. “In
the best way,” she clarifies. “I couldn’t get anything by
And her father was a “huge influence” in her
life in what she calls the “major” parts.
|The first GGCB conference took place in November 2011|
me my promise ring when I was 13, and took
it off me when he walked me down the aisle,”
she said. “He told me his job was
to protect me until he gave me away.
This gave me the love I didn’t have to look
“Between my relationship with my Dad and God,
I wasn’t trying to find my fulfillment with a boyfriend,”
Regnum Christi and a Role Model
parent’s influence, Chelsea also credits her involvement in the Regnum
Christi movement as crucial to the development of her faith
She participated in several RC programs including Challenge
and Mission Youth, going on two mission trips to
Mexico. Before attending college, she served as an
RC Mission Corps volunteer (called a coworker at that
time) in Washington DC between the years 2002 and 2003.
“I found Regnum Christi when I was
14,” she said. “And the movement gave me
real tools to be close to Jesus Christ.
It made my faith real to me.”
|Chelsea says being attractive is being confident in the gifts God has given you|
Chelsea said these
experiences -- especially her time as a coworker -- helped
her initiate Good Girl Comeback. It trained her
how to design a successful program, and to be organized
and consistent in her approach.
She also got some inspiration
from her high school biology teacher. While attending
Walled Lake Public High School, Chelsea found a kindred spirit
in Laura Jennings.
“I told her how
my father had given me a promise ring, and we
got talking,” Chelsea remembers. She would discover that
Laura was the founder of a program called D.I.V.A.S., which
offered mother/ daughter retreats through churches in the Detroit Archdiocese. Laura asked Chelsea to be a regular speaker
at these retreats.
“I spoke during her programs 3 or
4 times,” she said. Chelsea then found herself being asked
to give her testimony at other venues as well.
“I would share as much wisdom as I
had to share at the time,” she said.
“People starting asking me, ‘When is your next thing?’
I would say, ‘I don’t have a next thing.’ But then I thought, ‘I need to come up
with a next thing.’”
Chelsea started toying with the idea
that would later become her present GGCB venture.
thought about starting a program for a very long time,”
she said. “I started jotting down cool names,
something you could put on a T-shirt that you would
get right away. The name ‘Good Girl Comeback’
just popped into my head.”
During her conference
series presentations, Chelsea shares how her resolve to remain chaste
as a teenager did not harm her ability to make
friends and be “popular.”
Chelsea explains there is a difference
between “being popular” and “being respected.”
the kind of person people want to be friends with
is different from being popular,” she said. “When you are
confident in the gifts God has given you, this is
Chelsea tells her listeners how she was the “new
girl” at her public high school, having attended a small
Catholic school through 8th grade.
“But I did not lack
for activities and involvement during my high school years,” she
said. She dated boys and was even named
Being “Good” has its Rewards
shares how she recently married the “love of her life.” Her husband is a teacher at Orchard Lake
St. Mary’s High School, where Chelsea now holds many of
her conferences. “He is very supportive,” she said. “He encouraged me to do this. In fact,
he is also a ‘good’ boy.”
“He had tough standards
for the girls he dated,” she said. “He
was interested to meet me because he learned I work
at a Catholic school.” (Chelsea is the marketing director for
Everest Collegiate High School and Academy in Clarkston, Michigan.)
Chelsea tells proudly how, after her husband met her for
the first time, he told his friends and family he
had “either met the girl who would break his heart,
or who he was going to marry.”
Her Future Goals
Chelsea will add a second level to her Good Girl
Comeback conference series in September 2012. Girls who
attended the first session can progress to the second level,
which will go “deeper” into the topics from the first
conferences. She also hopes to offer the program
beyond herself and SE Michigan.
the short term, I will be offering a video of
my sessions,” she said. “Eventually it will be available online
to download. In a very long time, I
am hoping to train presenters to be facilitators.
But I’m taking baby steps right now.”
Good Girl Comeback
is currently listed as an LLC, but at the end
of the year, Chelsea will make the organization a non-profit. Currently registration costs participants $100, though scholarships are available. (Chelsea says she has never
denied an application for a scholarship.)
Chelsea says she researched
her prices carefully. She points to feedback from
one of the mothers of a past participant, who said,
“You cannot put a price tag on what is taught
at the GGCB. The conference is 9 ½
hours, packed with many activities, talks lunch and dinner. This program is well worth it!”
To register for
an upcoming Good Girl Comeback conference, click here. To read Chelsea’s GGCB blog, click here.