Inspiration for the program stemmed from a 2015 Super Bowl ad that challenged the nation to rethink an age-old adage about what it means to do something #LikeAGirl.
What was once considered an insult, #LikeAGirl has become an epic social battle to redefine those words for generations of women who struggle with challenges related to sexism, bias, and self-confidence each day. The B.L.O.C.K Youth and Teen Center is committed to being a part of this movement. This new initiative, serving a diverse group of young women between the ages of 11-15, is designed to change the way that these participants, and the community-at-large, thinks about what it means to Lead #LikeAGirl…and ultimately live #LikeAGirl.
"It has been an amazing experience getting to work with such a bright and talented group of girls,” said Program Coordinator Laura Mortier. “In just four short months we have seen them grow into confident, well-spoken, and understanding young women. This program has allowed them to challenge themselves, discuss relevant issues that young girls face with their peers, and foster relationships with female role models in the community.”
The pilot group of participants, consisting of 14 girls, will graduate in June, 2016. Qualified graduates will be given the opportunity to return this fall to serve as peer mentors and leaders for the incoming group of young women.
Monthly program curriculum that was developed to promote positive behavior, enhance social skills and encourage improved academic performance, included: “You Were Born To Lead,” a special presentation by Michigan State Representative Kristy Pagan; “The Power of Good Habits,” a health and wellness workshop featuring Yoga practices and healthy-eating tips; “Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace,” featuring female Physicians and Specialists from St. Joseph Mercy Health System, and a Canton Public Safety crime lab experience; and “Civic Engagement,” featuring an interactive presentation by Canton Township Clerk, Terry Bennett.
Local volunteer and financial support has helped Lead #LikeAGirl expand its positive programming opportunities. More than $11,500 has been granted, donated, and awarded to this initiative from supporters like the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Community Financial Credit Union, and the Kroger Company. Sponsorship opportunities for Lead #LikeAGirl are still available for individuals, businesses and foundations to assist in the development of future sessions. To become involved, please contact Laura Mortier at 734/394-5376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 program initiatives will include on-site visits to the Michigan State Capitol and Eastern Michigan University. Additional activities will include a service learning project at First Step – Western & Downriver Wayne County Project on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Interested future candidates are encouraged to apply through the B.L.O.C.K. Youth and Teen Center. Applications will be available on The B.L.O.C.K. Youth & Teen Center website at www.canton-mi.org/146 beginning July, 2016. Space is limited.
The B.L.O.C.K. Youth and Teen Center, located on the third floor of the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road, provides a fun, teen-friendly environment where students from ages 11-17 can participant in supervised afterschool programs, social events, and activities. For more information, visit www.cantonfun.org or call 734/398-5570.