New start date for Girls for a Change program

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:56

    NEWTON — The start date for the popular Girls for a Change Empowerment Program has been postponed until Monday, Nov. 7. The nationally-acclaimed program seeks to partner a group of girls 13 to 18 years of age with two adult mentors who will help them to identify and address issues of importance within their community. The program will run on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m., Nov. 7 to Dec. 19. Over the course of the program, the team will work together to design and execute a social action plan. The program is free and open to the public; dinner will be provided and registration is required. Girls for A Change is a national organization exclusively focused on giving girls from low-income backgrounds a voice by engaging them in social change. The organization provides girls with skills, support and resources to increase their self confidence and self-efficacy by inviting them to speak up, to become decision makers, to solve problems and to create visionary change. By connecting them with professional women trained to serve as volunteer coaches, girls develop trusted relationships with powerful role models for civic engagement and women become strong advocates for girls and their neighborhoods. Some of the goals accomplished by Girls for a Change Teams across the country include increasing access to higher education for immigrant students, rallying against domestic violence, and creating public service announcements denouncing substance abuse. The Girls for a Change group currently being organized at Project Self-Sufficiency is the first in New Jersey, and one of the first in the nation to focus on a non-urban environment. “The Girls for a Change organization is looking to access a community that is more suburban or rural,” said Emily Bent, Executive Director of the Girls for a Change organization in New Jersey, adding that the Sussex County team will be comprised of five to 15 girls. “The small group provides an intimate, comfortable setting where girls can get to know each other and work together more efficiently.” The Girls for a Change Program is flexible and can be adapted to the needs and concerns of different communities, said Bent. “Girls for a Change has an amazing and established curriculum that allows teams to identify a concern for people in their area, and engage in social change. Every team that is organized comes up with a different project, so it is girl-initiated, girl-led and girl-driven. The coaches are there to help them navigate the community effectively.” More than 325 Girl Action Teams have completed social change projects over the past six years, addressing issues from gang involvement to climate change. Operating in six metropolitan areas and six countries, the majority of teams are located in low income communities where opportunities to effectively engage in community change is often limited. “Project Self-Sufficiency is proud to partner with the Girls for a Change organization to help empower these young women to make meaningful changes in our community,” said Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “Project Self-Sufficiency has helped low-income families in to attain economic self-sufficiency for the past 25 years, and the Girls for a Change curriculum is a perfect fit for the programs already in place at our agency.” To register for the Girls for a Change program at Project Self-Sufficiency, or to find out more about the programs and services available at the non-profit agency, call 973-940-3500.