I don’t know how many sites I have worked at that tries to get a Girls’ Group up and running. Sometimes it really is hard to find the perfect person to connect with young ladies. You really have to build a rapport with them and let them know that this is their sanctuary. You really just can’t get any instructor to facilitate the group or girls will be learning all types of weird things that they have no business learning about. Believe me…. I know from past experiences. Girls would run to me after their girls’ group session to complain about the facilitator and the content she was teaching. They would be scared to go back! I’m just staying, everyone is not built to be a good facilitator.
I have had the pleasure of doing my first Girls’ Group at a continuation high school that I am currently working at. They have been trying to get a group going for the last 5 years and wasn’t successful until my co worker and I came into the picture. With some guidance and support from our supervisor we were able to gain these girls trust, build a rapport with them, and actually keep them coming back to meetings each week.
The school I work at is very small and very male dominated between the student and teacher ratio. So the principal told us how important it was to start the group and the need for it. Since there is sooo much testosterone on campus, the ladies have no where to go or have their voices heard because there is so many males on campus. Having a Girls’ Group provides a safe place for girls can talk about issues or just be themselves was the goal of the group. As well as to solve any conflict that the girls may face being outnumbered by males on campus.
We wanted the space to be all about them. You know… we asked what they wanted to get out of the group. So as a first bonding activity, the girls decorated a jar and wrote on labels something that they value. What they put inside the jar were things they wanted to get out of Girls’ Group. Based on what they put in the jar is how we built our curriculum for every week. (see lesson plans end of post)
We had topics on the spectrum of jobs, relationships, respect, family, school/college, goals, friendships, self love, self care, etc. A 30 minute slot during lunch time is no joke! We could hardly get anything done. But when you have food and good conversation, attendance definitely goes up. When the girls walk in we have a sign in sheet. I always have on Pandora to set the mood. Then they head straight to the snacks or food provided and sit down in circle. We start every session with a check in question either about the topic of the day or just to see how our girls are feeling. If there is anything they want to get off their chest, this is the segment we allow them . to vent if need be. Then we go into our lesson and end with a reflective activity or closing circle. It’s usually something short and sweet like one word to describe how you’re feeling. Rose and a thorn. Something to that extent.
Since starting Girls’ Group in February, I can say we met our goal of lowering girl conflicts on campus. We also have created that space where the girls on campus can come and talk to us about anything. Bigger news about our Girls’ Group is that we are now moving it to after school as well so if the girls need more credits, this is an elective option for them. Lastly, we are taking them on a college tour to UC Davis. I don’t know if you guys agree with me but that is major progress ! Especially with the circumstances and obstacles we face everyday from working at a continuation high school, I am damn proud of us!
Here is an example of the newsletter/flyer I make every week to remind the girls on campus about our meetings and what the topic of discussion will be.
Relationships and Media
Here is an example of the lesson plan of Relationships and Media
The photos used in the activity
Snack Set Up