The original 1girl program has always served middle school girls and college women. This model leaves a gap for high school students. High schools have been a challenge for a number of reasons, including that most high schoolers don’t attend afterschool programs. However, we wanted to find a way to engage girls at the high school level, so we decided to pilot a high school chapter that would serve middle school girls in the same way our college chapters do.
We piloted this idea at Palisades High School in Los Angeles over the past school year. The program has been an incredible success – they worked with a group of girls in South Central Los Angeles, fundraised to cover the cost of their programs, created community partnerships, and successfully formed an engaged student chapter.
The President of the Palisades High School 1girl Chapter shares how being in 1girl has impacted her:
Over the course of this year, I’ve seen the girls mature little by little and realize that their dreams and aspirations are valid ones. They became self-aware in the sense that they now have an idea of where their life is headed, which I think is one of the most important things you can have in middle school. They know that the decisions they make today will most definitely affect them tomorrow and that they should always make time to listen to the voice of reason whether it be within themselves or coming from someone else.
Personally, I’ve become more in-tune with my care for the community. I’ve become more aware of the problems facing today’s youth and I’ve been able to share my experiences with other organizations that I work with – United Teachers of LA, for example. 1girl inspires me to do better academically and socially so that I can continue to be a safe role model for these girls and as a result, they will want to do the same by volunteering in their own neighborhoods and lifting each other up.