Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Fresh Look at the Just for Girls Program

A Fresh Look at the Just for Girls Program

“…since 1997 Just for Girls has been helping girls navigate the challenges that can prevent them from graduating from high school and being successful in reaching their goals. I am so excited about the new curriculum with fresh perspectives and updated topics relevant to girls today. The landscape is constantly changing and the factors for teens and pre-teens with it, any program that is going to be relevant to their healthy development and successful completion of high school must change as well.”Sharalyn Hamilton, executive director.
Just For Girls Reduces Risk Factors and Promotes Positive Interpersonal Connections

Increasingly, researchers find a positive correlation between healthy adolescent development and community, which is broadly defined to include family, school, youth organizations, etc. Just For Girls’ primary strategy is to create a peer support community that emphasizes girls’ physical, mental, emotional, and reproductive health. Just For Girls is designed to help girls increase positive connections to fellow youth, parents/guardians, and school; establish leadership and social skills; develop a healthy lifestyle; and prevent violence and bullying.

As part of the program, participating girls meet in groups after school which are facilitated by trained YWCA staff through a curriculum that covers healthy relationship development, emotional health, substance abuse prevention, non-violent conflict resolution techniques, and nutrition. Within these groups girls form trust-based relationships with each other, become part of a positive peer group at school, and support each other as they work toward developing healthy lifestyles and relationships. Just For Girls also encourages participants to improve their relationships and communication skills with their parent or guardian through activities such as the annual Mother/Daughter Night. This year, we will also have the girls prepare for and participate in a 5k run/walk to encourage more physical activity.

Because girls are living in an increasingly technological and socially-networked world, the new curriculum emphasizes skills that help girls engage in online environments in ways that are meaningful, respectful, critical, and useful. The new lessons model professional behavior in social media and teach the girls about maintaining a positive self-image and healthy lifestyle, both on and offline. In addition, program facilitators will undergo new training to further their understanding of the issues young women face, as well as to provide them with better skills to adapt their teaching of the curriculum to respond to the girls' developmental needs and concerns.

Just for Girls groups meet after school at the YWCA as well as on school campuses. For more information visit our website or call (626) 296-8433.

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