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Sharing Strength with Girl Power

 

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Story and photography contributed by Deborah Sareth ’13, summer communications intern

girl power youth leaders2 DSCN0758What does it mean to be a young woman in today’s world? Nearly 70 middle school Crusaders attended our innovative Girl Power program, held at Jorge Alvarez High School, to explore that question. They were led by a well-informed team of high school Crusaders – Griselys Mena, Jaelah Lopes, and Toyin Ogunleye (at left) – who facilitated group discussions, small-group conversation, and creative activities about women’s rights and empowerment. The purpose of Girl Power is to help young women make connections with each other through sharing personal stories and experiences. Jaelah, Griselys, and Toyin were recommended by their College Crusade advisors to serve as leaders for the program.

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For Jaelah, being a youth leader was meaningful. “I love teaching others and sharing my personal experiences,” she said. “As a young African-American woman, I want to be an advocate for myself and my people. I also love hearing other people’s stories. Everyone is different and we have been through all walks of life, we can learn from each other and help one another.”

Crusaders who attended Girl Power had a lot to say about what they learned. For Deisy, an 8th grader at Esek Hopkins Middle School, the discussions made her think about the idea of respect. “Both men and women are equal,” she said, “and there should be no discrimination.” Amy, an 8th grader at Nathaniel Greene Middle School, enjoyed the experience. “The program is an interesting place to mingle while still having fun with people around your age,” she said. “I really liked when we made a poster together. We passed it around and each wrote something nice and optimistic for each other at the end of the day.”

Thanks to all the Crusaders who participated in Girl Power and contributed to this experience of community building and mutual support!

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