Each time a group of girls goes through a Girls Inc. program, we hope there are certain things that the girls get out of the program. We hope they have fun. We hope they get to know girls they didn’t know before, and learn to get along with girls they might not have otherwise. We hope they learn something they didn’t know before. Most of all, we hope they retain that knowledge and that it benefits them in the future.
Imagine my delight last Wednesday afternoon when I heard girls who were in a previous Girls Inc. program repeating some of the key lessons in their own words! I was filling in as a co-facilitator at a Redefining Beauty program for 9-11 year-olds at Eastridge Elementary school, and when I walked in, I recognized two of the girls. They had previously been in a Redefining Beauty program for 6-8 year olds last year at Brookview Elementary, another elementary school in Warren Township.
When I asked the girls if anyone could tell me about Girls Inc., both girls (Faith and Ilaina) raised their hands high. I called on Ilaina, and she promptly responded, “Girls Inc. is all about being yourself and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says!”
Next, I called on Faith. She said, “Girls Inc. is about how you’re beautiful on the inside and the outside doesn’t matter. What matters is how you act and what you do and who you are on the inside.”
I was ecstatic! Throughout the rest of the session, their insightful and intelligent responses to the activities showed that not only had they remembered the messages from their Redefining Beauty program, but it was clear that they had taken these messages to heart. These girls were not parroting back phrases and ideas that their facilitators had said to them during our spring cycle; they had actually redefined their personal ideas of what it means to be beautiful. Incredibly, the messages from a 6-week program were still being utilized 6 months later. How inspiring!