As we wrap up the first session of our virtual programming, we’re reflecting on the incredible way girls are persevering in these challenging times. The girls who participated in the September-October session explored our Redefining Beauty and She Votes programs designed to build their self-esteem and prepare them to be future voters (and future candidates!)

Though only four weeks long, our facilitators saw significant growth in the girls.  One participant in the 5th-8th grade cohort, Ava, was usually shy and kept her camera turned off. She was often quiet, self-conscious because English is not her first language. Each girl gave a presentation on her Personal Power, and Ava was very nervous. Facilitator Caulin met Ava in a breakroom during their Zoom session to help her feel more prepared and comfortable about her presentation. This brief exchange of mentorship made a huge difference. 

“I was so excited when she presented!” Caulin said. “She spoke in front of about seven girls, answered prompting questions about her project, and kept her camera on for the rest of the session. She was very bold for presenting, even though it was out of her comfort zone. It was great to see her come out of her shell!”

In the 1st-4th grade cohort, groups of sisters attending the program showed their support for each other. Senior Program Coordinator Jessica commented on how rewarding it is to see them helping each other. “The older sisters would encourage younger siblings,” she said. “I could tell some of them had practiced together because they would remember each other’s personal mottos and would help each other if one forgot what to say.”

While we wish we could be engaging with girls in person, we’re proud to offer a digital safe space for girls to learn and grow this fall. One message we hope to impart to the girls in our program is that nothing can stop them. When asked about the most important lesson she learned from the program, one participant said, “To always care for yourself, always be yourself, and never doubt yourself.” The girls are going to be alright.