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Girls Can’t What?!

Girls Empowerment Group by Jennifer Stec

Purpose Statement: The purpose of this intervention was to address self esteem issues
among girls at Northside College Preparatory High School, in Chicago, Illinois.

Group Outline: The target population was 9-12 grade girls. Recruited via posters
around school, and through emails to students indicating interest, the group met for six
weeks, for 45 minutes after school, once a week.
Session 1: Introduction
Objective: To build trust among group members.
Description: Students discussed what brought them to the group. They also participated
in a group ice breaker, identifying with general statements I read from a list. For
example, "Raise your hand if your parents are divorced."
Session 2: Beauty and Self Confidence
Objective: To discuss and listen to differing viewpoints on what it means to be self
confident or beautiful.
Description: Students discussed what beauty means to them, dissecting if self confidence
and beauty were the same thing, and describing a person they saw as self confident.
Session 3: Power Thinking
Objective: To encourage girls to identify their strengths and learn how to tap into the
feeling that comes with understanding their strengths.
Description: Students created statements using "I am...(I am smart), I can...(I can get
through rough times), and, I will....(I will like myself more)". We then discussed how
they could utilize these positive statements to combat negative statements they make
about themselves.
Session 4: Relationships
Objective: To identify what being in a relationship means and understand the difference
between healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships.
Description: Each group member described one relationship they were familiar with and
identified it as healthy or unhealthy. We also dissected different terms for 'relationship',
such as 'hooking up' or 'talking'.
Session 5: Creating Vision Boards
Objective: To visualize dreams and goals by creating a vision board.
Description: Students created vision boards with magazines. Vision boards, also known
as dream boards, are a way to conceptualize your ideal life.
Session 6: Creating School Poster/ Wrap up
Objective: To empower the group members by giving them an audience for their
newfound knowledge and confidence.
Description: Students created a poster containing empowering statements for girls. These
statements were things they learned in the group, or meaningful quotes. Students also
received certificates of achievement for group participation.

Results: According to results from the pre-test and post-test, the students did not make
significant changes in the way they responded to the questions. When asked if they
practice good decision making skills, however, 100% of the girls stated yes, as opposed
to 50% before the group began. Additionally, when asked in the group evaluation if they
felt that they had made improvements, 85% of the group felt that their self esteem had
improved as a result of their participation.

Recommendations: I would initiate two changes if I were to run this group again. The
first change would be the duration of the group. 6 weeks was not long enough to see
results. and I felt that the girls were just starting to grow comfortable with one another.
8-12 weeks would be ideal, and the girls may have made significant improvements had
they had more time together. Another change I would make would be to have group
members keep a journal of their experiences after each session. This may be as simple as
keeping a folder with quick notes and drawings. By week 6, many girls had forgotten
activities and discussions that had taken place over the course of their group experience.
Maintaining these thoughts in one space would have been helpful for reflection during
our last session.
One final thought to keep in mind is to be aware of wording when utilizing
outside resources. I made changes on a few activities, being mindful of non-heterosexual
situations. For example, the book I was using stated “raise your hand if you have had a
crush on a boy that didn’t like you back”. Instead, I reworded the phrase to “...crush on
anyone that didn’t like you back.” This is key to ensuring group members feel that they
are in a safe space.

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Esteem between Black and White Adolescent Girls.” Journal of Black Psychology
36 (2010):255-276.
Impett, Emily., Henson, J.,Breines, J., Schooler, D., Tolman, D. “Embodiment Feels
Better: Girls' Body Objectification and Well-Being across Adolescence.”
Psychology of Women Quarterly 35 (2011): 46-58.
Schab, L. M. (2008). The Anxiety Workbook for Teens. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
Taylor, Julia V., & Trice-Black, Shannon. (2007). Girls in Real Life Situations.
Champaign, IL: Research Press.
Wolf, Naomi. (1998). Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood. Toronto,
Canada: Vintage Canada.