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Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor Foundation renews funding for Girls Lead

The Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor Foundation, Inc. has renewed funding in the amount of $15,000 for the Women’s Resource Center’s Girls Lead program during the 2022-2023 school year. Funding partnerships such as the one provided by the Foundation are invaluable for a program like Girls Lead, providing stable support to our existing school cohorts. This is in addition to helping to fund the implementation of our Girls Lead strategic goals such as broadening access to the program for schools throughout the five-county Philadelphia area.

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.

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 with the focus on mental wellness among youth.

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 in guided skits, scenarios and exercises.

Both the middle and high school programs consist of 18 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 conducted both in-person and virtually, due to the pandemic.

Girls Lead is a unique program in that it is both evidence-based and experiential, enabling participants to experience and incorporate four essential 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. If you are interested in helping to support Girls Lead 2023-2024, please contact Dr. Mojdeh Keykhah, WRC’s Director of Development and Communications, at Mojdeh@womensrc.org.

WRC is pleased to share that we have recently launched a strategic planning process focused on broadening access to the program for schools throughout Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Chester and Bucks Counties.  The 2022-2023 program is currently serving 12 Girls Lead cohorts in 11 schools in Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties. The list of participating schools are: Academy Park High School, Darby Township Middle School, Fugett Middle School, Interboro High School, Peirce Middle School, Phoenixville Area Middle School, Radnor Middle School, Sharon Hill Elementary (two cohorts), Springfield Township Middle School, Stetson Middle School, and Tinicum Middle School. Interested school administrators, including school counselors, are invited to contact Girls Lead Program Manager Danielle Siwek, LCSW, at Danielle@womensrc.org to learn about how the program can be included at their school.

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.

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