During the Winter 2017 semester, students in Professor Sadaf Ali's CTAT 334 class at Eastern Michigan University were given the option of reporting on something of interest to them and our community for 89.1 WEMU. Rolanda Taylor chose the topic "Girls Group: Takes action over words to make a difference in young girl’s lives." Here is her report.
Girls Group: Takes action over words to make a difference in young girl’s lives
Sue Schooner was selected for a destiny that would powerfully affect the lives of young girls in Ann Arbor, MI. She retired as an automotive executive. It was not in her plans to retire at age 47. Once Schooner seen how invested she become in making a difference in young girls lives her vision for her future changed drastically. 13 years ago Girls Group was founded with 6 girls. Today the non-profit has 350 girls participating in the programming throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti schools.
Girls Group provides year-round programming. Giving girls the proper resources to have a promising future. The program includes one on one mentoring, counseling, and homework, and tutoring for middle school and high school girls. The opportunities provided for these girls does not stop there. The directors and coordinators of the middle school and high school plan community service projects, mother-daughter workshops, and college prep support.
“The first time I could be my truest self.”
Every Friday at Clague Middle School during advisory hours a safe atmosphere is created for 8th grades girls to come and participate in activities lead by Capri Bower’s the middle coordinator. Throughout their sessions, Capri incorporates goal setting, resilience, self-esteem, and identity development. “I look forward to Girls Group because I can talk with other girls about things I wouldn’t talk about with my male advisor,” Girls Group participant. The girls gather around and eat food together before the session begins. Staff creates an environment to challenge the girls’ minds. The goal is for them to complete challenges to stimulate their abilities to work together as a team. Throughout activities, encouragement is given “If you are struggling and you need help it’s important to work together, be willing to help incorporate team work,” Nicole Baskin said.
Each day of the week, coordinators are traveling to middle school and high schools throughout the Ann Arbor District. However they offer a special opportunity for high school girls all over to be a part of Girls Group. On Friday evenings from 6-8pm at the Peace Neighborhood Center they hold an engaging session for the girls. Interns from University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University lead activities to the girls about creating long-term goals, academic achievement, networking, and research tools. The organization seeks to help young girls develop self-confidence and leadership skills including the commitment to give back and mentor others. “Hundreds of young women have been empowered to pursue their dreams the organization and staff continue to inspire and it is my hope that the organization continues to be a positive force in the community in years ahead.” Girls Group helps build futures for the middle school and high school girls a lifelong bond is formed once you become a part of this organization. Women of purpose is a Girls Group program developed to continue support and mentoring for 70 young women working on their college degree, and for those who have already graduated from college.