How We’re Changing HERstory

Contributed by: Caroline Crawford, Chief Program Officer

For over twenty years, Girls Empowerment Network (GIRLS) has responded to the systematic decline of self-esteem in girls. We have held conferences, workshops, camps, and summits to ignite that power within Texan girls. The staff always noticed that something special was happening when girls circled up, joined their peers in an authentic space, and could just be themselves. It didn’t matter if the girls were eight or eighteen, these young women were gaining more than just higher self-esteem, but they were rewriting the stories and labels about themselves. Not only was their confidence increasing, but our girls began writing new stories about how unstoppable they are.

Girls Empowerment Network girls increase their confidence not just within themselves, but in the classroom, at the dinner table, and out with friends. They are connecting to their own identity, values, and boundaries. They are connecting to their peers on a deeper level through vulnerable conversations and collaboratively acquiring new skills. They are connecting with their teachers, parents, and guardians in new ways. They are connecting to their own power and the collective power of a small group wanting to make a change.

That’s why our school-based program is called Girl Connect! This name encompasses all the connection we create for young women whether they participate in an after-school Girl Connect program or are referred to us for an in-school Girl Connect program.

In Girl Connect, girls experience our signature curriculum, which features 20 modules that build girls’ self-efficacy (their belief in themselves and their own abilities). These modules include:

· Team-Building – Connect and collaborate with others
· Healthy Friendships – Find valuable friendships
· Communication – Connect and express effectively
· Identity & Diversity – Own your unique power & appreciate others
· Stress Management – Know when you’re stressed & how to cope
· Defining My Values – What’s important to you
· Healthy Dating – Know your boundaries
· Media Literacy – Know what’s real in this world
· Self-Compassion – Be your own best friend
· Leadership – Discover the leader in you
· Career Exploration & Power Chats – If you can see it, you can be it
· Social Media Safety – Life is more than likes
· Anti-Bullying – Be an ally
· My Changing Body – All bodies are good bodies
· Drug & Alcohol Resistance – Make choices that are right for you
· Goal Setting – Be unstoppable through life
· Failure & Resiliency – Fail forward
· Growth Mindset – Ditch labels to become limitless

With our dynamic self-efficacy curriculum and our empowered new look and feel, this is a very special time in our organizations HERstory.

Caroline Crawford