From the mouths of babes…

Week 2 at my summer internship with Alternatives for Girls has come and gone, and I am feeling more comfortable at the organization. I have started to learn more of the girls’ names and I have been permanently placed with the middle school group, which helped the girls become better acquainted with me. I don’t even have to use a GPS anymore and feel so confident taking that exit to MLK Dr. even though I’ve only been driving here a few days for two weeks.

At AFG, the middle school girls know what Tuesdays mean – sex ed! Fun! Doing sex education with middle school girls and hearing their stories reminds me how important education like this is for young girls. All girls deserve to have someone that they can trust enough to openly ask these questions that people are not very open about.

My Wednesday consisted of mainly supervising the group as they continued to practice their Mexican indigenous dances for the group performance in a few weeks. The dances are really fun and seeing the girls so dedicated to getting the dances right is really adorable. I cannot wait to see the performance for their parents and families the first week of June.

Thursday afternoon, I showed up around 3:00 and helped one of the employees to prepare dinner for the girls. The program’s budget was running low and we scraped together everything left in the fridge to make goulash. I cut onions until I cried (which isn’t hard thanks to my stupidly sensitive eyes). I even cut tomatoes, which usually tends to make me want to barf. After helping to cook, I was sitting with some little girls helping them with their homework. We were chatting in Spanish about our pets and our days at school. A very tweet-able moment happened when one four-year-old told me my hair looked better last week than it did today. Thanks.

After dinner and homework, the middle school group did a workshop with reps from an organization called La Vida – they made large cubes that had wrongful stereotypes of girls written on the sides.

“You can’t play soccer.”

“Girls can’t play Minecraft.”

“You can’t like Star Wars. You’re a girl.”

“You have to wear a dress to school.”

On and on until the sides of all the cubes were written in with things they were told they couldn’t do all the time because of their sex. The girls lined up and took turns saying something they could do and threw the ball at the stack of cubes – knocking down the stereotypes metaphorically and literally.

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We then went into another workshop as a group where we take turns sharing stories of times in our lives that we may have felt a lot of different feelings. The girls wanted me to go first, so I shared a story of a time someone I thought I was good friends with hurt me. The girls helped me pick different emotions that I was feeling at the time, and then when the workshop facilitator asked what the girls suggested I do about the situation, one eleven year old said, “You should get new friends. Those people don’t deserve your friendship anyway.” From the mouths of babes, as they say… this moment reminded me how absolutely thankful I am for my friends and how lucky I am to have people in my life who care so much about me and give me stories to tell when I have had such positive emotions.

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I’m looking forward to going into our second to last week of after-school programming this week, and helping the staff to prepare for our summer Rise and Shine camp!

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