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, who are nominated by their guidance counselors and principals, develop skills that will help them avoid pitfalls common to adolescent girls and 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 across the research: communication skills, conflict resolution, decision-making, and problem solving. These skills are also life skills which foster leadership ability.
Indeed, now during COVID, WRC’s 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 and isolation.
Girls Lead has evolved to meet the current situation and is being conducted entirely virtually this year. The curriculum has been updated and adapted to online delivery with content to address current issues.
Our middle and high school programs consist of a 12-week curriculum plus a Girls Lead Conference. The program, implemented by skilled human service professionals affiliated with WRC, culminates in a Leadership project to positively impact their 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. This year the Girls Lead conference will take place virtually.
A sneak peek into one of the advocacy projects being developed this year demonstrates the girls’ empathy and advocacy skills being used to make a difference combating loneliness, exacerbated by COVID-19. They will be developing a Pen Pal campaign with their local nursing home. One girl from the program said, “My nanna is in a nursing home and she is lonely because she can’t see anyone- so there are a lot of people like her right now.” The quote exemplifies empathy, essential for leadership, especially now.
Stay tuned for more project updates from our other schools!
Darby Township Middle School
Fugett Middle School
Interboro High School
Phoenixville Area Middle School
Radnor Middle School
Springfield Township Middle School
Tinicum Middle School
“Girls Lead has helped me grow as a human and as a leader all while having fun.”