Self-Esteem and Healthy Relationships Part of Girls’ Empowered Program
(Arden Vanover, Jan. 12, 2023)
Ferndale, MI – Girls’ Empowered runs on the mission of raising the self-esteem and bonds between young girls, while spreading awareness of toxic relationships and helping students to make positive, self-affirming decisions.
Since its conception in November 2022, Girls’ Empowered leaders have been visiting schools and extracurricular groups in the Ferndale area to seek out an engaging way to help girls grow up in a safe and supportive environment.
The program is sponsored by the Southeast Oakland Coalition and was developed by Keoshia Banks of the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities. The alliance sets out to prevent substance abuse while promoting mental and physical wellness.
Carol Jackson, the Executive Director for the Southeast Oakland Coalition described the program as something that “…at least starts to put the seed of confidence and their self-worth into, you know, peer view for everyone to see.”
Groups like Girls’ Empowered are created based on early intervention. The girls this program focuses on are middle-school-aged, but recently the program opened itself to participants from the Ferndale Upper Elementary fifth grade class.
Developer Banks said, “We talked to them about how important it is to create healthy connections so that they can find people who believe in the same thing as them as they want to be above the influence. Like teaching them how to find other people who want to be above the influence as well so that they can grow in a community of friends and family and school support staff that will help them reach their goals of staying above the influence.”
This program is not targeted at students deemed to be “high-risk” by a statistic, but it is open to all girls who are willing to listen. Group leaders and participants both highlight the fun and team building aspects of the lessons to create an eager audience being taught to empower one another.
At the completion of the program, students are asked to participate in a survey to see how the program can improve, and leaders are met with abundant positivity. Participants in the group were surprised that the time had gone by so quickly and asked that the leaders come back and extend the program.
Girls’ Empowered brings more to a group of students than just offering a 5-session program for fun and education. It provides a lasting effect on the students and their relationships with one another, creating a sense of community
Banks said, “When I first implemented this, the coach said she noticed a difference in how her team interacted with one another after they had started participating in the Girls’ Empower program. So not only does it impact the girls, but it impacts their teachers and their coaches and the people who helped organize.”
The leaders behind Girls’ Empowered hope to grow the program even more in the coming years and develop new programs to reach a broader group of students as well. With more sessions and more programs, the Southeast Oakland Coalition and the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities only hope that their work will continue to positively impact the community and the future of students.
Learn more about Southeast Oakland Coalition on Facebook.