Charmin Bates knows the power of creativity.  

That’s why she founded Creative Girls Rock in 2017. The organization helps foster creativity among young girls and women. In five short years, CGR has grown from serving the Nashville community to helping young creators around the world.  

“We provide free programming for all of our participants,” Bates said. “Since the pandemic happened, we have now become a global brand because we were unable to have in-person classes, so we developed a CGR craft kit where we are shipping materials to young girls and women all around the country. As of today, we are in 15 states, Canada, and Japan, offering free programming, shipping directly to their door to get on a virtual/Zoom setting to conduct a class–it could be knitting, sewing, DIY candle-making class. We are currently working on a mural project. The sky is the limit.” 

Bates says the biggest obstacle to creativity for young girls and women is simply opportunity. That’s where CGR comes in to bridge the gap.  

“Just providing that platform for them to express themselves,” Bates said. “Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, art programming in the Metro Public Schools here in Nashville have limited the amount of art programming in the schools. With CGR providing that platform, we are able to fill that creative gap, providing that outlet for young girls and women to express themselves. People say, ‘Hey, I don't have a creative bone in my body.’ Well, you don’t know until you at least try, and we provide those opportunities for young girls and women.” 

Last season, Bates was named Nashville SC’s MLS WORKS Community MVP as a thank you for her dedication and commitment to the Nashville community. Bates says the honor was a validation of her work and the path she’s taken with CGR.  

“It shows me that I’m walking into my calling, what I’ve been called to do,” she said. “Our labor is not in vain.  Everything we do is to help someone else. We may not understand that when we’re going through something, but I’m glad to be a blessing to others, the community, and Nashville Soccer Club.” 

Bates knows the joy that comes with expressing your creativity. She says the most fulfilling part of her job is to see that joy come out in young girls and women when they finally have the chance to show their creative sides.  

There’s a sense of fulfillment that you have when you see a project through from start to finish,” she said. “Saying, ‘Hey, I created that. It started from this piece of paper here, with all of the instructions on how to do a particular project to something tangible in my hand, and I made that.’ It’s that pride. That’s the best part of seeing the young girls, like, yeah, you did make that. You made that candle. You made that crown. That’s the joy of being a part of this program – just seeing them create.” 

Follow Creative Girls Rock on Instagram and Facebook and learn more about their work at CreativeGirlsRock.org.