For most girls their week started a little something like this…
They put their school uniform on with more excitement and enthusiasm than they had shown for weeks. It was fresh and new and they loved the sense of sophistication and confidence they felt when they put it on.
They had been counting down the days and eagerly awaiting the moment they could get back to school to see their friends. They had set their alarm early and had packed their bag the night before ready to start the day with ease. When it was time to head out, they flung their bag over their shoulder and danced out the door with Taylor Swift singing in their ears. The day was theirs. It was the beginning of a new year, a new start!
For many girls by the time they returned home after their first day, their enthusiasm and confidence had diminished considerably. For many, the excitement they were feeling to see their friends was met by judgement, hostility, competition and for many, rejection. The reality of school life had hit them like a tone of bricks and their summer break happiness was snapped away.
This week some of the stories that were shared in our Girl Talk classes showed just how tough our girls have it. Some of the issues girls shared included being told they could no longer sit in their groups, that their ‘best friends’ had found new best friends over the holidays, that their new hair cut was ugly and they would have to sit somewhere else until it grew out, and that their new uniform (which felt so great at the start of the day), apparently made their legs look short and fat.
As we sit and listen to the stories in these classes our hearts ache. You can see the hurt in the girls eyes, the pain in their voices. They try to pretend the cruelties don’t affect them. The truth is they do. Deeply.
Our job as Mentors during our Girl Talk sessions is to help girls through these challenges they face. We work with parents by offering a support network that genuinely and wholeheartedly cares for their daughters. We teach girls how to take their negative experiences and transform them into something positive. We help them to see things from different perspectives. We teach them to become their own source of strength and to build armors of resilience to prevent others from tearing them down.
We help girls to see that no matter how hard their day can be they will always have a place where they belong. A place where they can be themselves, make friends and be cherished for who they are, exactly as they are- hair cuts and all. When girls walk out of our club with their heads held high and smiles on their faces we know we have done a great job.
See one of the ways we help girls in our Girl Talk sessions…