By the time a girl reaches puberty, her self-esteem will have fallen by as much as 30% (source: The Atlantic). Girls today face many variables that negatively impact their confidence; from social media, to bullying from peers, to a mischaracterization of women and girls in the media. When girls don’t feel valued, they have a limited vision of the future, are less likely to advocate for themselves and feel it’s impossible to overcome any challenges they face.
HerStory participants from Noble Elementary/Middle School in Detroit recognized the urgent need to change this. In October, they traveled to New York for the 2018 Global HerStory Summit, where they unveiled their Community Action Plan, “Positive Girls Project,” which aims to help girls build self-esteem by spreading messages of positive affirmation in various ways around their school, and offering safe spaces and uplifting experiences to members of their community. During their time in New York, they worked with HerStory mentors to finalize their CAP and learned how to best implement their project once they returned home.
“The summit was a very good experience,” recalls Alicia. “I got to meet girls from other countries and I felt like I could connect with them. Even though we come from different cultures, we still all had a great time together.”
During their time at GHS, the girls learned just how important their work is – not just in Detroit, but around the world. “I learned that we should make the Community Action Plan global because other girls are dealing with this hard stuff too and we could maybe help them,” says Alicia.
Since returning to Detroit, the girls have started to implement their CAP locally and are already seeing enthusiasm from others in the community. Dozens of girls at their school were so excited about the project that they signed up to get involved. The girls have started designing posters and small cards featuring positive affirmations and will soon create a mural, too. They also plan to hold an assembly to teach other students about their CAP and its importance, and invite them to get involved.
When asked what the girls need to be successful, they all agreed that they could use support from other girls at their school and from mentors in their community. We also asked what they want people to know about the Positive Girls Project. Here is what they said:
Stephanie: I believe that people should know that we are trying to help girls feel good about themselves.
Alicia: We are trying to really make our Community Action Plan happen and we are trying to make an impact for girls around the world; not just for Detroit, but everywhere.
Amaya: The Positive Girls Project is about bringing girls up and not bringing them down. They are beautiful in every way. It doesn’t matter what other people say.
Continue to follow the girls’ progress on all of the Global G.L.O.W. social media channels, or by subscribing to our email list. Next month, Stephanie will be joining other HerStory partners in New York for a CSW-parallel presentation, where she will be telling her story and updating the audience on the Positive Girls Project. For more information on attending the event or following along remotely, click here.