Girls in the Lead; Emotional Health and Violence-Prevention Programming for At-Risk Girls

The Problem

I had worked in the field of adolescent psychology the year prior to my freshmen year at college, collaborating with members of the Empower Program and the Ophelia Project- both leading girls’ advocacy organizations- at the Girls Leadership Institute. I worked as a counselor in Washington, DC at the Girls Leadership Institute, a residential program that assisted at-risk adolescent females who had been victims of harassment or bullying at their schools. I used my experience working at the Girls Leadership Institute to present an informative and ultimately successful workshop for the Chicago Public School teachers. Since then, I have done volunteer work as a Relational Aggression Consultant for the Chicago Public Schools. Through this, I developed a drama therapy-based program for the intervention and prevention of bullying among girls which has been brought to numerous institutions. The program serves about two schools per semester. The unique curriculum, a combination of art/theatre therapy exercises and emotional strength-based activities is the only one of its kind in the country, and has elicited promising results in behavior changes among girls in various schools and organizations in Illinois. I have brought this free program to several other institutions, including: Girl Scouts of Chicago, ChildServ, Chicago Communities in Schools, Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence, Teen Living Program and Just Us Girls. The program has impacted over one hundred girls through various venues on a myriad of topics, including bullying, body image, relational aggression, harassment, dating violence, sexual violence, self-injury, sexual orientation, and eating disorders. Bullying has become one of the biggest problems facing youth today, as it can provoke young people to take harm against themselves, or even others (e.g. School shootings). This program combats this by providing volunteer workers and teachers with the opportunity to become examples for kids who are harassed; role models who will connect and make an impact on children’s lives and relationships. Girls in the Lead offers after-school programs for schools and organizations, as well as parent, teacher, and youth strength-based trainings and workshops.

Plan of Action

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