The first day!

Hi everyone! First of all, thank you SO much for all of the positive feedback on the blog so far! It feels wonderful to know that I have so many people supporting me in everything that I do. I truly appreciate everyone who offered their kind words and assistance within this past week and I am blessed to know all of you. :) 

Anyway, this past Thursday was the first day of Girl Rising! HOORAY! It was amazing, wonderful, inspiring, beautiful...basically every positive adjective you can imagine. This day was very much anticipated by not only myself, but the girls as well. Every time I would see the girls in the hallway for the past two weeks, they would say things like "I can't wait for Thursday!" or "It's only three days away!" Their excitement made my heart so happy because there is no better feeling than knowing that what you're doing is sparking joy in others. 

After school on Thursday, 20 girls came into my classroom with big smiles and lots of zest (a little too much zest, but that's okay). It was beautiful to watch all of the girls, regardless of grade level, welcoming each other hugs and kind words. There was already a sense of community among them that came together so naturally. We started our meeting in a circle and we spent most of our time introducing ourselves and getting to know each other. Then, I shared my story with the girls and how this Girl Rising vision came to be. I told them about the class I took in college that originally sparked the idea and I told them about my passion for helping girls realize their full potential. After that, I distributed journals to each of them and gave them a few minutes to personalize them by drawing a picture of themselves doing something that they love. We came back together on the floor and I introduced a quote for them to write in their journal: 

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." 

We talked about what that quote means and they were all able to express to me that it means being able to do what we want without caring what other people think. They will get a new quote each week to add to their journal. Their task is to think about the quote throughout the week and write their feelings about it in their journal. I told them to think of this journal as a diary and that no one else has to read it but them. They all seemed very excited about it and I look forward to hearing their thoughts next week! 

We ended our time together with an activity called "The Pulse" in which we held hands, closed our eyes, and passed a squeeze with our hands around the circle. I wanted this activity to symbolize our unity and togetherness as a group. My hope is for every girl to feel as though Girl Rising is their source of family, support, power, and love. 

Overall, it was a wonderful first meeting! I couldn't stop smiling the entire time knowing that my dream is coming true right in front of me. The majority of the girls were very receptive to the things I was saying and I could tell they completely understood. However, because these girls are only 7 and 8 years old, some of them lack the maturity to reflect. I am confident, though, that as the weeks go on, they will grow into the little feminists I know they can be. :) 


What it's all about...

Hi everyone! Welcome to my very first blog! I wanted to start this blog as a way to document the journey of the brand new club I'm starting at my school called Girl Rising. I have chosen 21 girls in 2nd and 3rd grade to take part in this adventure with me. We will meet weekly for an hour each time. I am super excited about it and I wanted to share it all with you! This idea has been a dream of mine since I was 18 years old and I am so excited that it is finally coming true. So, for my very first post, I thought I'd share how it all began...

At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I decided to become a Women's and Gender Studies major in addition to elementary education simply because all of the other majors were too hard. I knew nothing about it but I had to choose one and it seemed easier than math. In my first Women's and Gender Studies class, I learned about things like feminism, the women's movement, and gender constructs in the media for the very first time. These were all topics that had never crossed my mind before but I was surprisingly feeling very passionate about them. I remember giving a presentation on how gender roles are portrayed in the media and loving it because I was finally finding an answer to the struggles I had been facing my whole life. The pressures to be thin, wear a certain kind of clothing, and "act like a lady" had consumed me for so long but I never understood the root of the problem. I never understand why this world was always making me feel as though I wasn't good enough. It wasn't until I was researching for that presentation that it finally hit me. I started asking questions like: Why are girls treating differently than boys? What does it mean to be a feminist? Why are we all trying to achieve this unattainable norm of beauty? I wanted to know the answers. I wanted to find a solution to these problems. 

That intro to WGS class brought forth a passion in me that I never knew I had. I was inspired to do something in my life that will help inspire young girls to not have the same feelings I had growing up. I don't want today's girl to feel like they can't do something because of their gender. I don't want them to feel like they have to change themselves in order to be beautiful according to someone else's standards. I want today's girl to feel powerful, strong, and equal so that they are free to be whoever they want to be. I want their minds and hearts to be free of worry, doubt, and fear so that there is nothing holding them back from accomplishing their dreams. 

The mission of Girl Rising is to empower girls to be their best selves and rise above negative influences that may come their way. Every day, girls are bombarded with messages and images that attack their sense of worth and power. As parents and teachers, we have the power to make sure that this doesn’t happen to our girls. Together, we can transform self-doubt into self-love by creating a safe space for community and discussion. I have created this club in hopes of inspiring young girls to love, express, and be who they truly are. The club will touch on topics such as self-esteem, body image, the power of having a voice, the privilege of education, and gender equality. My dream is to foster a culture where girls can be seen, be heard, and belong so that ultimately they can change their lives and create a healthier, more equal world. 

I sincerely hope that you follow along on this journey with me! My plan is to keep this updated with pictures, videos, and information about what we've been up to. I appreciate your support as I finally get to see my dream become a reality. :)