Girl Talk was inspired by a young girl's experience at her middle school. Haley Kilpatrick, like many middle school girls felt left out, awkward and lonely during her middle school years. After making it through to high school Haley began talking with friends, who shared similar, terrible middle school experiences. Haley, at 15 years old wanted to make a difference. She wanted to establish a program that would help young girls, just like her, get through their middle school years with the help of their high school peers.
She felt she could do this cost efficiently by using her high school cafeteria before and after school, also by using trained school employees as “Girl Talk Advisors” (teachers and counselors). This also created leadership opportunities for high school girls who mentored the middle school girls.
In 2002, Haley started Girl Talk in her school in Albany, Georgia. Today, Girl Talk is the fastest growing nonprofit mentoring program in the country. Her program reaches middle and high school girls 27 states, Canada, the Virgin Islands and Africa - and Girl Talk is reaching over 30,000 girls. What is even more inspiring is that she has done all of this with less than $140,000. Haley is working hard to see that Girl Talk is in all 50 states by 2010.
Girl Talk addresses the need for self esteem, leadership skills and community service for middle school and high school girls.
Statistics: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Schoolmatters.com, youth who are mentored are: -46% Less likely to use illegal drugs/ 27% less likely to use alcohol -52% Less likely to skip school. -An astounding 83% of girls that attend Girl Talk in middle school have become Leaders in high school. -Each Girl Talk Leader has to complete at least 10 hours of community service each semester. That means that Girl Talk Leaders across the country completed more than 312,000 hours of community service this school year.
Testimonials: “Honestly I was so impressed with Haley as the founder of Girl Talk that I wanted to learn more about the organization and certainly see how I might help. There are several reasons I believe in Girl Talk and the mission of helping young girls. First of all, I was once a young girl in middle school and I remember how difficult those years were. Personally and professionally I recognize the challenges of the pre-teen and early teen years and Girl Talk makes a difference by allowing girls to explore key issues and build skills around a healthy respect for self and others, intrapersonal relationships, effective communication, as well as some of the specific concerns the girls might have. One of the more impressive aspects of Girl Talk is the safe environment for the exploration and skill building. And even more importantly in an environment in which these young girls thrive – a group setting with high school girls mentoring the younger girls–this model is the most developmentally appropriate and effective model for interacting with this particular age group.” -- Kelli Ritter, Ph.D. & Girl Talk Advisory Board Member
“In my 45 years of educational leadership, I have not witnessed a more productive activity for middle school girls. I only wish that all of the girls at the age level across the country could have the privilege of a similar experience.” -- W.T. Henry, Headmaster, Deerfield-Windsor School
Girl Talk has proven itself to be a highly effective program with both our Middle and Upper School girls. It provides the older girls with a positive and organized way to be leaders while providing the younger girls with tools to help them grow into healthy independent woman. There is no doubt in my mind that our students will look back and remember the advice they were given and experiences they had with their Girl Talk leaders and peers. It is an powerful, fun, and exciting addition to our school day! -- Kara Friedman, MS, EdS, NCC, LPS, Girl Talk Advisor & Advsiory Board Member
“I am a Girl Talk Leader and have been for the past two years. Middle school was so hard for me and when I heard about Girl Talk, I instantly knew I could give back and help middle school girls not go through what I did. What I didn't know was that being a Girl Talk Leader would open so many doors for me as a "community leader." I love being greeted with hugs by middle school girls I see around town, but most importantly I am proud of the difference this program has allowed me to make in my community. I am truly a better person because of it and look forward to this school year and becoming even better. Let me know if I can help any new Leaders. Thank you Girl Talk!” –Meredith, Girl Talk Leader
“Girl Talk has taught me that I am someone special”- Jackie-Girl Talk Girl “Our sixth grade class was the worst the school had ever seen! Through Girl Talk we changed that.”—Mia, Girl Talk Girl-8th Grade