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Journal Entry #1- Topic: Attraction of Global Girls Rising

People often forget to step out of their own shoes every now and then, so that is what I am
going to do now. I am going to look at Global Girls Rising Program from the perspective of the girls. If I
was in elementary or middle school I would definitely find the setting appealing. Coming into a house
which is a new atmosphere different from school, is much more appealing than being forced to go back
into a classroom or classroom-like setting. Just as Noam mentions in his article “What we have to avoid
is having the children and staff experience the projects just as more school instead of as a creative
extension of learning that is more hands-on, more participatory, and more community focused” (Noam,
2008). If the students feel like they are only going to be lectured more then they won’t be motivated to
come or activity participate in the program for the day. Also, El Sol has this requirement that every
parent must do volunteer hours with the school, so what one of the moms does is cook for this
afterschool program. This is another attraction that would bring me to the program. They have really
good snacks, not just cafeteria food, and I would say food is one of the main things that are on children’s
mind after being in class for so long.

Another really good aspect of Global Girls is that they allow the students to be very active. When
filling out the LIAS tool evaluation, I gave them full points on the active section. They allow the student
to be creative and expressive in whatever way works for them. So if they want to sing and dance to
show how they understand friendship, then they get to sing and dance. Along with this it is nice because
their activities are very much student driven. The mentors are given certain topics to cover and
guidelines to follow however the content that falls in-between is up to the students. There was one time
when we started to talk about being courageous and the students brought up Katniss from the Hunger
Games. As a group we were able to cover characteristics that she embodied and connected it to what
they thought a courageous person might possess. We were also able to connect it to the overall arching
theme of what it means to be a GLOW girl, or a girl who glows. So while they are required to have
writing sessions and cover topics of the day, like courage, the girls are mostly able to guide discussions
while the mentors act as facilitators. This is attractive to younger kids because they often enjoy when
they feel they are contributing quality work to the program. They feel like they have some power and
respect that we trust them enough to give them that power. Hansen and Larson found in their study
that “developmental benefits of programs might be higher if youth were motivated by enjoyment and
had lead roles more often"(Hansen and Larson, 2007). Lastly, one of the things that would bring me to
the program and attract me as a kid is the content that is covered in the program. The program does not
heavily focus on homework, but they do make the effort to let the kids know that if they need help, that
it’s always there. But more importantly they focus on group collaboration and connect it with the arts.
They do hands on activities that make the time fun rather than drag on and have them feel like they are
being forced to learn something new. The way the program integrates the lesson with fun activities,
make it as though they are having fun while learning and not just waiting until their parents come home.
I know I would enjoy this program as a kid because I hear constantly from them that they don’t want to
go home or that they can’t wait until next weeks meeting.

Journal Entry #2- Topic: The Culture and Environment of Global Girls Rising

This all-girls program and the way it is organized is definitely something new to me and my
experiences. Their main goal is to educate the girls on what it means to be independent and show them
ways they can stand up for themselves that are socially acceptable throughout the community. The
school that they come from is dual-immersion, meaning that they integrate both Spanish and English
into the everyday lessons. Because of this is shows how the school is accepting of the surrounding
culture and they understand the importance of students understanding more than one language. It
opens up more opportunities later in life. In addition to the school, Global Girls Rising also tries to tie in
the cultural aspect into their program. They include poems that age back to Mayan history and also
include poems that are written by Hispanic writers. They had planned a whole day discussing the
International Day of the Girl, talking about how important it is to be a girl, how to express the power of a
girl and connected its importance on an international level. Aside from the writing aspects of the
program, they also included a drum circle that included songs written in Spanish and Spanglish. They
take every opportunity they can to help the girls be proud of their lineage no matter the background,
constantly offering opportunities for the girls to share a little about themselves. Because the house is a
very nonjudgmental environment the girls feel closer as a group and feel more willing to contribute,
knowing they won’t be scolded or told they are wrong. Within one of Larson’s reading he mentioned
that "The context best suited to the development of initiative appears to be that of structured voluntary
activities, such as sports, arts, and participation in organizations, in which youths experience the rare
combination of intrinsic motivation in combination with deep attention" (Larson, 2000). So the house is
an example of this. They focus on the arts, while directing their attention to a theme of the day, the girls
are able to drive the discussion and thus they are more likely to contribute, which they do. I feel it is
important that the girls want to contribute because that means they are activity listening and
participating in the lesson for the day. It also means that if they have any questions they are more likely
to ask them.

As mentioned before, the environment in which the program takes place is different than most.
The program directors connect very well with the girls, allowing for an open learning environment.
There is a nice ratio of student to staff, creating a very personalized discussion for each day. The GLOW
house acts as a change in scenery and it give the girls something to be proud of, for all their art ends up
being part of the houses decorations. The house also creates this sense of belonging and safeness which
is extremely important. Overall this unique program offers so much for the girls, and I feel lucky to be
able to see the program blossom in the new house.

Journal Entry #3- Reflection of After-School Programs and its Relation to Global Girls Rising

Before taking Afterschool Education I had not really given a second thought to afterschool
programs other than they help students with homework and they give parents a place to leave their kids
until they get off of work. This was all I thought because it was all I had experienced. I began working
with just fifth to seventh graders which was something I was used to. However my main learning
occurred was when they sent me to NOVA. I had never worked with older girls but I am glad I had this
experience. I had been debating between getting a single subject or multi-subject credential, and was
taken aback back due to my fear of high schoolers not respecting me due to my looks. Being it that most
say I should still be in middle school. However this experience has taught me that one person can have a
lasting impact on another no matter the age, there just has to be an effort made. Also, with this
program being specifically focused on the arts, it has opened my eyes as to how important it is to keep
arts within education. There are so many opportunities that open with the arts. This class has also
helped me realize that afterschool programs have much more flexibility than the normal school day
does. This means they have the opportunity to use the arts as not only educational but fun and
engaging. And with relation technology, it is clear to me that all these students support Prinksey’s idea
that this new generation express skills that make them digital natives. Not a lot of the program included
technology, but the moments that it did, they were able to catch on very easily. They all are very
comfortable with using technology. Lastly I was able to see an afterschool program that was more
oriented like a family. This was something new to me and very eye opening, considering the household
that I grew up in as a kid was very strict. Also, having them be located in a huge house and having all the
students take pride in their program and activities, I was able to see how a change in setting and an
open heart can change the perspective of kids on afterschool programs. I was able to see that
afterschool program do not need to be strictly organized and centered on homework for it to work. The
students and I gained so much more than just passing time. They taught me how to modify my language
depending on the situation and they taught me that personalizing time can open the setting to much
more care and learning. I know understand how important it is to take advantage of afterschool time.
Overall it was a wonderful experience and I am glad to say they have recently hired me as a paid mentor
so I will be returning there in the winter after the New Year.