This summer I have been interning at Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest. Girls Inc. is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Normally, Girls Inc. offers after school programming, summer camps, and mentorship that in a variety of areas including STEM, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, and violence prevention, to name a few. Due to the pandemic Girls Inc. has not been able to do as much direct service and in-person programming, however they are offering many online resources, a virtual STEM summer camp, and are ramping up their advocacy work.
While I originally hoped to be doing direct service and mentorship at a Girls Inc. site, my internship this summer is fully virtual and I have been doing development and revision of their curriculum. At first, I was a little disappointed that I would not be able to interact with youth directly. However, as I am nearing the end of my internship I am excited that my additions and updates to their curriculum will hopefully make a positive impact on Girls Inc. programming for years to come. Curriculum development is a task that has usually been pushed to the back burner, and some of it not been updated in over twenty years. The current members of Girls Inc. are facing a much different world than girls that this curriculum was originally intended for. With more updated material, future Girls Inc. mentors will be able to lead programs and Girls Groups that are much more relevant to the lives of their students.
I started out the summer making a brand new College Readiness curriculum. I had a lot of fun being able to draw upon my experience working in UP Admissions for the past three years and my time student teaching in a College Prep seminar at our local high school. The college search and application process is intimidating and becomes even more so if you are the first in your family to go to college. I am proud that I got to put together a guide to help Girls Inc. members navigate the college search, application process, financial aid, picking a major, and life as a college student.
My current project has been the revision of one of the core Girls Group topics, a curriculum called “Allies in Action.” The way we think about the concept of allyship has changed dramatically in the decades since this curriculum was written, and has even changed rapidly within the past few months. While the old curriculum was a great guide to being a good friend, the Girls Inc. members today want to know how they can enact change and make the world a better place. The new Allies in Action curriculum will help guide them through navigating identity, privilege and marginalization, solidarity, advocacy, authentic allyship, and healthy communication.
I am grateful to have the chance to be part of an organization with such a strong sense of female empowerment and that I have been able to be a small part of the girls’ journeys towards furthering their education, pursuing their dreams, and making the world a better place.