In honour of International Women’s Day this month, we decided to dedicate all of our blogs to women making a difference in this world. As we did so, it became crystal clear to me that women generally don’t grow up to be strong independent women, unless they are taught strong values and self-esteem when they are girls.
Enter Girls Inc.,an organization that is endorsed by Oprah and Reese Witherspoon and Holly Robinson-Peete to name a few. With more than 1,400 sites in 400 cities across the United States and Canada, they are inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold!
Last week I had the honour and privilege of chatting with Yvette Nechvatal-Drew, of Girls Inc. Durham. We discussed how Girls Inc. programming is helping girls to find their voice in a world that is obsessed with social media. We spent a long time talking about how girls today through social media are using the world as a biomarker for their self-worth. They are allowing their likeability to be their barometer.
I was particularly struck by Yvette’s description of the programming for the youngest girls.
They teach them skills to build confidence and embrace positive decision-making skills to stand up against the social current and peer pressure. She gave an example of one exercise called ‘Don’t Yuck my Yum’ in their Leadership and Community Action program called “GirlSPACE”.
Loosely translated, these sessions focus on the fact that girls should be entitled to their own opinions, likes and dislikes without being criticized or pressured to bend to what other people think.
Today, it might be as simple as really liking Justin Bieber, and learning to stand up and defend your right to do so. Later in life, these skills are life changing when the subject matter turns from Justin Bieber to sex, drugs alcohol or any other type of risky behaviour.
Girls Inc. advocates on behalf of girls and delivers life-changing programs and experiences. They help girls ages 6 years to 18 years learn to value themselves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths.
‘The combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.’
I was blown away and so inspired by my conversation with Yvette. I wish these women had been around when I was a young girl!
Yvette made an unforgettable impact on me … I can only imagine the impact she and her facilitators are making on thousands of girls throughout North America.
I know they would appreciate you discovering and supporting the life changing work they are doing!! You can see their vision here: