On Saturday, May 5th, Girls For A Change hosted a city-wide event to showcase the social change projects their Girl Action Teams have been working on. Girls Action Teams are teams of girls within Richmond schools and community centers who work together to learn about social justice. Remember the mural we created? That was all the result of a Girl Action Team!
Making an impact after school
Girl Action Teams are an afterschool program. While most kids spend time with friends, play sports, or join the school band, these girls support each other all while making a difference. Our participants identify challenges in their communities and design and implement creative solutions to address them as a team. Each team has two women coaches to guide and support them through the project. Girl Action Teams encourage girls to fully develop their voice and problem solving capacity so they can realize their full potential. Guided by two coaches on a proven path, the girls identify, develop and present their solutions. The ideas are theirs, ensuring the success is theirs too.
So, what have our Girl Action Teams been working on?
A lot! We had a FULL program for our Black Girl Showcase as each of our Girl Action Teams presented their projects.
Peter Paul Development Center: Body Image Positivity Week
(Coaches Kelly Baker and Alex Habib)
The girls in our Peter Paul Development Center planned a week of activities centered around positive body image. They planned a different activity for each day of the week leading up to the showcase and did this at Peter Paul to spread the word about how important it is to love your body and to be kind to others about theirs.
John Marshall High School: Black Girl Coloring Book
(Coaches Alex Habib and Landri Peirce)
A lack of representation of black girls is what sparked the project for our girls at John Marshall High School. They are creating and drawing images of each other and turning them into a coloring book for young girls where they get to write the narrative.
Martin Luther King Jr Boys and Girls Club: Empowerment T-Shirts
(Coaches Kelly Baker and Jaykera Norfleet)
The girls designed t-shirts with positive and uplifting words and phrases on them for anyone to wear. The girls’ goal is to wear these shirts to school on the same day, as a movement to spread positivity through their community and school. The shirts are meant to inspire and uplift anyone who sees them.
“We hope the positive words and phrases will inspire others to be more mindful about what they say to others. Wearing the shirts to school on the same day will show their classmates that even something as simple as saying one nice thing can change someone’s day.”
Armstrong Freshman Academy: Raising Self-Confidence
(Coaches Kelly Baker, Amani Johnson, and Alex Liverman)
We planned to have an afterschool program that invited all girls from other schools in the community to join us in addressing the problem of having low self-confidence. The girls planned different activities that all practiced raising self-confidence and spread the word about the importance of being positive and kind to your peers.
The girls hope to teach others ways they can practice self-love and learn ways to raise their self-confidence. By putting together a program that allows other girls from the community who want to learn more about self-confidence, this will be the first of many programs implemented in schools to teach girls about the importance of positivity in regards to how you talk about others.
Meadowbrook: Student Brain Trust
(Capital One Law Department and Freida McNeil)
The girls at Meadowbrook feel that as students, their voices are not being heard, the system is setting them up for failure, and the school board in particular hasn’t heard the black girl perspective. This means a policy change should happen. But before you suggest policy change, you need to know the law.
So, the girls partnered with Street Law and the Law Department at Captial One to learn more about how the law works in schools, communities, etc. After their Street Law training, a student “brain trust” will be set in place within their school communicating student issues with faculty and come up with solutions.
A lot of issues within the public school system root from adults having no awareness of the lives of students. This will allow them to understand the issue of students, and communicate with the students why things are the way they are.
Young Woman of Color Council
This Girl Action Team is a special one. It’s made up of students from multiple schools and community centers who all felt passionate about making changes within the education system. They get together to talk about their experiences and realized that although they all come from different backgrounds and communities, the black girl experience within the schools is all the same.
They held a panel recently at The Broad where they shared their experiences and struggles as an awareness piece and are now working towards policy changes within the school system. They will present their ideas to the First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, who they had the opportunity to meet with earlier this year.
These girls are making real impacts within their schools and communities. They see the challenges they face day in and day out and are working hard to fix the system so that black girls are heard and given every opportunity. As we say here at Girls For A Change, Black Girls are one of our most untapped resource!
How you can help support them
Want to support the girls? Sign-up to be a coach. Partner with the girls to help change policies and do advocacy work. Help them get the Black Girl Coloring Book off the ground. If any of these projects speak to you, please reach out to find out how you can help.
If you’re interested in being a coach, our next Girl Action Team Coaches Training will be Saturday, August 4th from 9am-5pm and September 8th from 9am-5pm. Training is held at Mobelux.