We are excited to announce two of our newest programs, Girls4Girls and MEN-torship. As part of the Community Empowerment & Leadership Club, we tasked participants with designing projects they feel are areas of need within their community. Our Barnstable group discussed the concept of connection within our local community and how this may be lacking among our youth. Our high school club participants then began thinking about the idea of empowerment for the younger generations and how they could begin to close the gap between grade levels. The result of these discussions sparked these two new programs.
Our UKSD high school mentors have spent a great deal of their time delving into what it means to feel empowered as a young woman. Something they unanimously felt was that there were so many adversities which could be helped or alleviated altogether if they had been exposed to necessary discussions. With this feeling in mind, they came together to create this Girls4Girls program. They wanted to find a way to connect to the younger girls within our school district and begin to discuss ideas such as the importance of self worth, what it means to be a productive community member, the importance of making smart choices, how to self advocate, etc.
The high school mentors have designed a curriculum that combines connection activities, reading, and whole group discussion to begin these conversations and start to construct positive relationships. They have also carefully crafted their mentorship group to be sure to represent various backgrounds and languages, so each younger participant can feel both valued and heard. Our first Girls4Girls program has been a huge success within elementary schools but can most certainly be adapted for middle schools as well. We are eager to continue the work to connect our kids and allow them each to see the valuable role they play within their community.
After working on our Girls4Girls program, we had interest from our male participants to begin a similar concept for young boys within our community. Thus, MEN-torship was created. This program looks very similar to our Girls4Girls, but has a few varied elements such as appropriate conflict resolution which has been expressed as an area of need for our young boys. Again, this program will allow elementary and middle school aged boys to connect with high school mentors. Creating this healthy connection and providing an extra level of support for our youth is paramount to their success.