Our third Power of 10 Group is young women, 16-18 years of age. This group consists of 14 girls that range in diversity, experience, education (high school and college), and family life.
Initially, trying to get these girls to talk was somewhat like pulling teeth. However, as I’m sure you can guess, once a couple of people decided to participate, as girls tend to do, the flood gates opened, and they were quite open about the issues and problems they face. Interestingly, they were also quite vocal about what problems they do NOT face – which sure fooled us!
The myriad of what teenage girls face today is vastly different from the experiences most of the committee experienced years before – everything from anxiety/depression, grades/expectations, difficult family situations to the forever common – money, peer pressure, boys and self-esteem. And this is just to name a few!
We began the discussion by trying to draw out what some goals of these girls were and then moved the discussion to what barriers may hinder the reaching of those goals. Eventually we moved to what the Power of 10 project could do to address those barriers. The central focus appeared to be the need to have someone to talk to about ‘stuff.’
What became obvious to the committee was that this group was voicing the need to be listened to, without judgment or prejudice. The teenage world does not provide a comfortable venue to ‘just talk’ – be it about everyday life or about really difficult situations that girls are experiencing.
But the ultimate question remains – “what to do with this $10,000?” What will reach the most girls and best address the most issues? Not an easy task when you have 14 girls, who by now have formed bonds and have no problem sharing their opinions! The Power of 10 can not be a ‘Best Friend Forever’ (or BFF as the girls would say) – but it may provide an outlet for open discussion, where girls feel trustful, accepted, respected, understood, and above all – heard.
Submitted by: Victoria Beltran, Women’s Fund Communications Committee