The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is excited to announce a $25,000 grant from the Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor Foundation, Inc. in memory of Joan Taylor Prewitt, for WRC’s Girls Lead program. This generous grant will be used to support an expansion of Girls Lead into more schools.
Girls Lead is a school-based program started in 1999 by the Women’s Resource Center and which continues to thrive after more than two decades. This program is aimed at helping middle and high school girls with untapped leadership potential. The participants are nominated by their guidance counselors and principals and develop evidence-based life skills that bolster them and help them become strong leaders in their school, community and beyond.
Adolescent girls are faced with a variety of challenges in their everyday lives. In 2015, Women’s Resource Center undertook an analysis of research on the potential negative outcomes common among adolescent girls: Bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropout, suicide, abusive relationships and eating disorders. The literature review revealed four common protective factors: communication skills, conflict resolution, decision-making, and problem solving. These common protective factors are also life skills that foster leadership ability.
During the pandemic, Girls Lead is needed more than ever. Life skills that help girls to become more assertive in their relationships while considering multiple viewpoints, managing conflict, expressing themselves with confidence and making good decisions are a priority during times of high stress.
The Girls Lead curriculum has evolved over the years to represent the current reality for adolescents. While focusing on the four skills, the program has also implemented elements of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Additionally, it incorporates today’s social media dilemmas as well as current mental health coping mechanisms for youth in guided skits, scenarios and exercises.
Both the middle and high school programs consist of 17 sessions plus a Girls Lead Conference. The Girls Lead curriculum, implemented by skilled human service professionals contracted by WRC, culminates in a Leadership project to positively impact the school or community.
During the annual Girls Lead conference, the participants have the opportunity to meet the other school cohorts in the program and to present their Leadership project to the entire Girls Lead community. Over the past years, the conference has been successfully run both virtually and in person.
Girls Lead is a unique program in that it is both evidence-based and experiential, enabling participants to experience and incorporate the four life skills into their everyday choices, developing leaders now and into the future.
The program is funded through the generosity of donors and is free to schools and participants.
The purpose of the Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor Foundation, Inc. is to honor the lives and work of Charles Minor Taylor, II and Joan Richards Taylor. Son of a physician, Charles Minor Taylor II became a prominent businessman in Little Rock, Arkansas. His wife, Joan R. Taylor, was a well-regarded British model and also an actress in films. During their lives, the couple took active roles in business and civic affairs in Little Rock and elsewhere. Mr. Taylor was also a decorated Air Force veteran and rose to the rank of Colonel during World War II. Joan Taylor Prewitt, in whose memory the grant is given, was a former Board member and longtime volunteer of the Women’s Resource Center.