Girls for a Change: Finalist's Statement
Girls for a Change
Urban girls often are not given opportunities to become practiced in decision-making or problem solving. They lack the role models and mentors who will help them develop and accomplish their personal goals and be capable of leading the changes they wish to see. The impact of this problem is that women and particularly women of color remain largely underrepresented as decision-makers in private forums in the US and therefore have limited impact on many key institutions, policies and decisions that effect their lives and communities.
Girls For A Change (GFC) brings together professional women to support urban middle and high school girls to become social change makers and innovators, by empowering them to design, lead, fund, and implement social change projects that tackle problems they face in their own neighborhoods. Girls For A Change has program sites in the Northern California and Phoenix, AZ.
How Is Girls for a Change Accomplishing This Solution?
- Girl Action Teams: 1,000 girls annually have the opportunity to participate in action teams to identify challenges their communities face and design and implement creative solutions over a 10-month period.
- Women Coaches: Each team of girls works with two professional women all year who help guide and support them and their projects. All coaches attend 30 hours of GFC training to prepare to be a coach.
- Girl Trainings: GFC offers two trainings every year to all of its participants -- a political action training and a social change and leadership training.
- New Girls Network: GFC connects girls to a network of professionals and legislators who help them accomplish their GFC project as well as their personal goals.
- Systemic Change: GFC is connecting economically disadvantaged girls to the wealth and opportunity of urban areas like Silicon Valley by developing strong relationships with major corporations and political offices that provide mentorship and guidance to the young women we work with. At the same time these young women are providing education about the strength and potential of urban young women back to the corporations and political offices.
Girls for a Change has launched nearly 150 girl action teams in northern California. The following results, among others, were created and led by these girl action teams:
- A middle school girl conference on self-esteem attended by 150 girls.
- A conference on health and well-being attended by 125 girls.
- A beautification school campaign that included a new 35-foot-long mural.
- The first sustainable recycling program in their school district.
- A new school club focused on preventing and erasing graffiti.
- A newsletter about girl power that went out to over 1,000 city residents.
- A media message about girl power that was featured on two TV shows and two radio shows.
- An anti-molestation play performed at six community organizations around California.
- A body image workshop for a class of 46 peers.
- A five-part women's speaking series in their school featuring congresswomen, senators, and CEOs. Over 400 students attended!
- A voter registration campaign in partnership with the League of Women Voters.
Girls have already stepped into leadership positions through their work with GFC:
- Nine girls on GFC organizational committees
- One girl was admitted to Stanford's summer political training
- One girl was admitted with full scholarship to Camp Start Up
- One team won their city's "Youth Creating Change" award
- Eight teams received media coverage for their community change projects
- Nine teams awarded grants for their community change projects
- Six girls secured political internships
- Seven girls secured business internships
- One girl started her own non-profit
- Two girls are spending one year doing humanitarian aid work in Pakistan