I Am Malala

One of my goals for Girl Rising is to give the girls positive female role models to look up to. Too frequently, women and girls are portrayed negatively in the media. Young girls, such as the ones in my club, are left feeling the pressures of societal norms. They will spend their lives craving the attention of boys, using their body to get what they want, and letting go of their dreams because someone has made them feel like their goals are not important. The list goes on and on, but it just proves that girls need us now more than ever before. 

This week we talked about Malala. My friend Jamie tagged me in this video on Facebook and I am so glad she did because it inspired my conversation with the girls. This was a very timely discussion considering she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize this past Wednesday, December 10. None of the girls had heard of Malala before so I took the time to share her story. I talked about how in many countries around the world, girls do not have the right to go to school. Girls are expected to fulfill their role in the home. Their voices are silenced and their brains are discouraged from learning. The girls and I talked about how lucky we are to have access to a free, equal education. Education opens doors to endless opportunities that so many girls around the world are not lucky enough to receive. The girls were heartbroken by Malala's story but they were also encouraged by her courage and bravery in her fight for educational freedom. 

I showed them this extremely powerful video of Malala accepting her award: 

How can you be more like Malala? 

That's the question I asked my girls at the end of the video. What can we do every single day to be more like her? She stood up for something she believed in even though it was dangerous. She didn't let fear silence her voice. She fights for the 66 million girls around the girl that are deserving of an equal education. If she can do it, why can't I? 

The girls brainstormed all the ways they can be more like Malala. Here's a few ideas they came up with: 
  • When someone's heart is empty, I can fill their heart by being their friend. 
  • Helping a teammate when no one else is. 
  • Standing up for myself when people are being unkind. 
  • Confronting bullies when they are hurting other people. 
Malala's book is called I Am Malala. I encouraged the girls to think of a word to describe themselves just like Malala did. "I am ___________________." 

I am powerful. 
I am amazing. 

I am important to me. 
I am independent. 

This is our time to make a change. Giving a girl the power of an education is the greatest gift she can be given. Lets empower our girls to know they are worth it. Let it end with us. 

"One child. One teacher. One book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution." 


What's your power word?

Hi friends! Long time, no talk. The girls and I took a break for Thanksgiving but now we're back in action. :) Thank you to all of you who read every single week. It truly means a lot to me. 

This weeks lesson with the girls was inspired by a phone call I had with one of my student's parents this past week. She was concerned that her daughter is struggling to express her feelings. When she is upset about something, she closes off and gets angry at everyone around her. We've all felt that way before but it's important to know what to do with those feelings. So this past Thursday I wanted to address the topic of feelings and what we can do to combat those undesirable feelings that bring us down. 


After our usual journal talk to start the meeting, we had a discussion about our emotions and the actions that usually stem from those feelings. Here's some examples of the things they said: 

  • What do you do when you're feeling really happy? - smile, hug someone, scream, jump in the air, run around
  • What do you do when you're feeling angry? - kick something, scream, stomp my feet, yell at someone, throw something
  • What do you when you're feeling sad? - cry, stay in my room, keep quiet
I told the girls that those feelings are completely normal but it is beneficial to have a way of coping with them. I introduced the idea of having a "power word" - a word that acts as a source of power and encouragement when we're not feeling so great about ourselves. Here's the list of power words the girls came up with: 

I showed the girls my Little Words Project bracelets that I wear every single day. I get questions about them from my students all the time but I've never actually explained them to anyone. My bracelets say "empower" and "faith". Both of those words are extremely meaningful to me and they give me tons of encouragement on a daily basis. Whether I'm teaching, running, having a good day, or having a bad day, I often look down at my wrist as motivation to keep going and never give up. I wanted the girls to have something like that as well to give them strength when they need it the most. 

Each girl chose her own "power word" that was the most encouraging to her. They were super excited to make these and I'm happy that we got to share that moment together.