Early 2017 marked a 1girl milestone — the first 1girl chapter in the Nation’s Capital! Washington, D.C.’s first 1girl paired Georgetown Day High School female students with an engaged group of girls at nearby Janney Elementary School. Highlighting the versatility of the 1girl model, the Georgetown Day-Janney chapter partners high school women with elementary school girls to bring a new, empowering after-school enrichment option to a D.C. public school.
After meeting with faculty and submitting a written after-school programming proposal, Janney added 1girl as an after-school enrichment option for the 2017 winter session, the only high school student-operated option among Janney’s after-school programs.
Our inaugural session of 1girl in Washington was a success by every measure.
Over the 10-week program, Georgetown Day student volunteers built strong ties with the cohort of Janney third graders. Tailoring the 1girl program for a younger audience, we integrated 1girl core skills – public speaking, problem solving, critical thinking, goal setting, and conflict resolution with fun activities that facilitated friendship, teamwork, and open discussion. We talked about inner strength, growing up, and overcoming fears. But we did so while decorating T-shirts, making beaded bracelets, and drawing self portraits.
Each activity united us as a team of strong girls, while building on each of 1girl’s core themes in a fun and interactive way. The girls’ T-shirts featured three or four of the girls’ favorite things, ranging from their dogs to their love of reading. On the bracelets, each bead represented one of the girls’ goals or strengths. The girls’ self-portraits focused on their favorite personal qualities.
At the conclusion of the winter session, the Janney girls shared how 1girl gave them a safe and secure place to express themselves every week during our meetings. They felt more confident in themselves and in their identities as young women. And they couldn’t wait to continue their partnership with us when 1girl returns for the next school year.
For the high schoolers, the impact of 1girl was equally powerful. We experienced how rewarding it is to be role models and leaders, and our ability to positively affect the lives of our new Janney friends left us excited to resume 1girl in the fall.
We can’t wait to see what next year will bring for 1girl in Washington, D.C.!