Written by: Kristen Antonello & Kylie Gross
The Junior League of Tampa’s Girl Power! program was created in 2013 with the mission to promote literacy, scholarship, nutrition, and positive self-image to the young women in the Tampa community. This year, we are partnering with the Centre for Girls – an enrichment and education center focused on the needs of Tampa Bay’s girls, ages 5-14, and their families. The Centre for Girls provides innovative programming with a STEM-based curriculum integrating art, health & wellness, and green living; all of which empower girls by teaching positive self-expression.
The Girl Power! Committee hosts monthly events at Centre for Girls, each centered around a different topic, such as: self-esteem, anti-bullying, career readiness, personal finance management, the importance of education, self-care, stress management, and creating your personal “brand.” For each event, a JLT volunteer acts as the event coordinator developing a curriculum for the event. She creates an icebreaker to introduce the topic of the month and then comes up with an engaging and interactive learning activity that addresses the theme of the event. Then, we all share lunch together.
September’s event concentrated on anti-bullying and the importance of positive self-talk. We put focus on providing the girls with resources to help build self-esteem and be able to deal with bullying and peer pressure both constructively and positively. The goal was to provide the girls with an opportunity to discuss current issues related to these topics, including the role of social media, and then engage them in an activity to build self-empowerment so they were more resilient to negative influences and situations.
The girls broke up into pairs for the ice breaker activity. Each pair received a picture of a girl their age, a possible peer. Then the volunteers asked them to use a permanent marker to write hurtful words. As the girls worked, they thought about times someone used negative words against them. Then, they were all given erasers and asked to erase the cruel words. Of course, they could not.
This led into a group discussion around the impacts of bullying, hurtful name calling, etc. From there, we began to turn the focus on how we also can “bully ourselves”. We discussed how negative self-talk that affects our self-esteem and measure of self-worth. To combat this type of thinking, we helped the girls create a mirror decorated with unique words and phrases that would influence and inspire them daily to fight against negative thoughts they may have about themselves or may have heard from others.
The event was a great success and the girls that joined us were excited to attend the October event, which will focus on career readiness and ways to pave your own unique path to success.