SHOUT: Girls is a pilot program that is being developed for girls from the ages of 11-13. Working directly with youth and community organizations, we have identified this as a high risk group within our community. The goal of SHOUT: Girls is to provide a positive, preventative, weekly program through a holistic model. We will combine education with healthy relationship development and altruistic community engagement. Girls from all socio-economic backgrounds will be welcome and are treated with equanimity regardless of their diversity. We believe very strongly that we have a responsibility as a community to help raise our young women and provide them with a platform to find their voices as young leaders. It is important that access to this support be barrier free. As such, we would like to offer this program free of charge.
Within this program, we will also be able to address some issues that our girls are facing. By providing a safe space for weekly meetings, we will be able to use education to prevent some issues from ever arising and to intervene in a timely manner when the girls are struggling. Issues that will be addressed in SHOUT: Girls range from mental wellness struggles such as depression and self-harm, to social justice initiatives and the importance of community volunteerism. Further, we will be able to explore internet safety, cyber bullying, healthy coping, self-esteem, healthy lifestyles, positive peer influence, and self-determination. Girls who need a safe place to develop social skills will be able to do so without discrimination.
Who Will it Benefit?
Our program will directly benefit up to 20 girls from the ages of 11-13 who reside in Chestermere, Langdon, and SE Rocky View. The overall benefit to the community is exponential. By cultivating confident and strong girls, we send out empowered citizens who can also empower others. Each one of these individual girls will affect and inspire their families, their schools, their friends, and their neighbourhoods. Our girls are, in themselves, unparalleled resources for community growth and innovation.
Examples of some of the community work our youth have done through our co-ed teen programs are raising money for Kids Help Phone, Wheatland Crisis Centre, and Children’s Wish Foundation. Youth in our co-ed teen program have also developed anti-bullying assemblies and presented them at schools, as well as given their time at numerous community events, affecting hundreds of residents. Our goal is to provide similar opportunities for our pre-teen girls and we anticipate a large impact on our community at large.
This program will also give vulnerable girls a safe place to belong. Girls who have struggled to make friends at school or to fit in during traditional programs and sports will have an option to join a group where they can be themselves. Girls struggling with self-harm, depression, and anxiety will have a program that does not judge them. Through our co-ed programs we have learned that a safe and healthy place to belong can be life altering and sometimes even life saving for youth in distress.