“Girls Lead has honestly helped me speak up about issues that need to be solved.”
– 2021-2022 Girls Lead Participant
Girls Lead is a leadership and protective life skills program that WRC initiated in 1999 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 find their footing and thrive. The participants, nominated by their school’s guidance counselors and principals, develop their leadership capacity and build a culminating Leadership Project which addresses a pressing issue in their school, community and society at large.
The Girls Lead curriculum was developed by the Women’s Resource Center and is evidence based. Adolescent girls are faced with a variety of challenges in their everyday lives. In 2015, the Women’s Resource Center researched the literature of potential negative outcomes common among adolescent girls such as bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropout, suicide, abusive relationships and eating disorders. Our literature review identified four common protective factors: communication skills, conflict resolution, decision-making, and problem solving. These skills are also life skills that foster leadership ability.
“Confidence is everything.”
– 2022-2023 Girls Lead Funder
Following a pandemic and 18 months of social isolation, Girls Lead is needed now 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. Girls Lead partners with school professionals to provide readiness development so that participants can be open to learning and leading.
While focusing on the four skills mentioned earlier as a foundation, Girls Lead also incorporates elements of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as today’s social media dilemmas and pressures in guided skits and scenarios. Moreover, the program is flexible enough to respond to the current mental health challenges facing youth with mental resiliency and self-care techniques added to the curriculum.
Both the middle and high school programs consist of 18 sessions plus a Girls Lead Conference where the participants can learn from the different Leadership Projects and engage with each other. Skilled facilitators contracted by WRC, most with a Master’s level background in social work and extensive experience working with youth, implement the curriculum in schools.
Girls Lead was fully adapted for the virtual school environment during the pandemic. We anticipate that the program will be mostly in person this school year.
Girls Lead is a unique program in that it is both evidence based and experiential, enabling participants to experience and incorporate four foundational life skills into their everyday choices, developing leaders now and into the future.
The program is funded through the generosity of donors and sponsors and is free to schools and participants. Last year saw 179 participants learn and grow through Girls Lead. Would you like to know more? Please contact Girls Lead Program Director Danielle Siwek, LCSW at Danielle@womensrc.org.
2023/2024 Participating Schools
Academy Park High School (Sharon Hill)
Academy Park Alternative High School (Sharon Hill)
Add B. Anderson School (Philadelphia)
Bensalem High School
Darby Township School (Glenolden)
Franklin Learning Center – 9-12 grades (Philadelphia)
Fugett Middle School (West Chester)
Interboro High School (Prospect Park)
Klinger Middle School (Southampton)
Log College Middle School (Warminster)
Octorara Middle & High Schools (Atglen)
Peirce Middle School (West Chester)
Phoenixville Area Middle School
Radnor Middle School (two cohorts)
Science Leadership Academy Middle School (Philadelphia)
Sharon Hill School
South Philadelphia High School
Springfield Middle School (Oreland)
Springfield Township High School (Erdenheim)
Stetson Middle School (West Chester)
Tinicum School (Essington)
Toby Farms School (Chester)
“Girls Lead has helped me grow as a human and as a leader all while having fun.”
Women Speak, our television interview show, spoke with a Girls Lead participant, her mother and the program facilitator at Radnor Middle School in Delaware County. Hear directly from this young woman how Girls Lead made a difference in her life!
Our Girls Lead program at Academy Park High School in Delaware County was featured in a Fox29 interview! The interview with the cohort displayed the benefits of learning and using the four leadership and life skills taught in Girls Lead (communication, problem solving, decision making and conflict resolution.) Girls Lead is a curriculum and evidence-based experiential program WRC has been offering since 1999.