GIRLS’ STORIES, GIRLS’ VOICES, a week long program, provides a supportive environment to help Middle School girls cope with this tough transition stage in their lives. Leaders facilitate the goals of building confidence in girls to authentically express themselves. Girls learn to effectively counter unhealthy messages with which they are bombarded on a daily basis. The program provides important information for girls to understand themselves, appreciate their uniqueness, and share who they with the world.
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Middle school girls need a safe environment where they can safely explore the many issues surrounding their lives. It is essential for them to discover themselves, share their unique stories and to be heard by caring, loving people. Through sharing of themselves, the girls discover and effectively use their voices.
The concept for Girls’ Stories, Girls’ Voices was adapted from a women’s workshop, Women’s Stories, Women’s Voices, that offered women a forum to share and use their voices. Dr. Nelson’s work with adolescent girls, through her college teaching of Adolescent Psychology: their stressful experiences, troubled relationships, issues they face, and numerous questions these teens raised. She concluded that girls needed the time to discover their authenticity, develop skills that utilize and reinforce their strengths to deal with blindly obeying, pleasing others, accommodating to cultural expectations, accepting conditionally, facing adversity, denying themselves, and handling rejection. Having knowledge and confidence results in healthy young women. These new insights were supported by researchers and social scientists who point to the psychological, social and economic importance of young adolescents maintaining and sharing their voices. Hence the program, Girls’ Stories, Girls’ Voices was developed.