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Sisters in the Struggle: Girls, Aggression and Strengths Based Intervention Presenters Simone Freeman & Jamie Gilley.

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Presentation on theme: "Sisters in the Struggle: Girls, Aggression and Strengths Based Intervention Presenters Simone Freeman & Jamie Gilley."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sisters in the Struggle: Girls, Aggression and Strengths Based Intervention Presenters Simone Freeman & Jamie Gilley

2 Presentation Objective To gain an understanding of how young women need the opportunity for new experiences with intentional focus on values, attitudes, encouragement and support to rise above hardship. Wise Girls provides an empowering environment in which to explore what it means to be a young woman with unique talents and abilities; experiences and skills that enable them to make healthy decisions; and role models with whom they identify in their process of individualism.

3 Definitions Physical aggression: using physical force, hitting, kicking, shoving, scratching and pulling hair. Verbal aggression: name calling, teasing, sarcasm, threatening, humiliating and degrading Relational aggression: indirect methods of aggression which includes name calling, spreading rumors, making up stories, writing nasty notes, silent treatment, excluding, intimidating and is characterized as manipulative and covert

4 What research says Boys and girls report similar levels of victimization however boys report more overt victimization than girls do Bullying among girls is predominate in middle school and decreases into high school One reason for differences is girls are more concerned with social relationships than boys. Girls focus and apply more energy into social comparisons and peer acceptance. Girls listen to peer feedback to shape their self worth, which makes them more vulnerable to the impressions of others about physical appearance or attractiveness and being accepted as part of the group.

5 The structure of middle school may contribute to the problem Increase in class sizes from elementary Increase in switching classes Decrease in cohesion amongst students and decreases the likelihood of friendships Decrease in relationship or bond with teachers Larger schools=less supervision

6 What research says that helps Assertive skills training Social skills groups Swift punishment for bullies Actively listen and lend support to child Avoid should statements Some bully research emphasizes the support of the silent majority—bystanders

7 Do not say it is a phase and just ignore it. Many researchers have indicated this previously has been the way aggression has been dealt with. Which is denying the girls reality and experiences. Rachael Simmons book Odd Girl Out gives specific examples on addressing behaviors for parents, schools and interested parties

8 The Chrysalis Foundation Des Moines philanthropist Louise Noun established the Chrysalis Foundation in 1989. Noun's efforts played a major role in empowering women who had no voice of their own, and carried through in foundation grants to improve the lives of women and girls in central Iowa. At her death in 2002, Noun left her legacy through a gift from her estate to create the Chrysalis endowment, securing the foundation's operations for the long-term. Because of this endowment, 100% of every gift to Chrysalis is returned to programs serving women and girls in the local community. Since its beginnings, Chrysalis has grown to become the leading community foundation in central Iowa dedicated to building stronger futures for women and girls. By its 16th year of grant making in 2004, Chrysalis provided over $2.6 million in awards to community programs, including over $900,000 for its signature project, Chrysalis After- School, created in 1998 for middle school girls and now operating at 14 school sites.

9 Chrysalis After School Girls Group The 2004-2005 school year was the seventh year that the Chrysalis Foundation supported after school programs for girls attending middle schools in Polk County. The overall purpose of the program is to provide added support and opportunities for girls during the transitional years of early adolescence. The Foundation provided grants to fourteen schools in 2004.

10 Program and Participant Characteristics Participating schools included the eleven Des Moines public middle schools, Southeast Polk Junior High, Johnston Middle School and the Girls Academy at PACE. More than 350 girls participated in the program during the school year. Attendance averaged 20 girls each week at each site. Of the girls participating, 30 percent were in 6 th grade, 38 percent were in 7 th grade and 32 percent were in 8 th grade.

11 Girls participating in the Chrysalis after school programs represented the diversity of the student population as a whole. Of the participants for whom data on race was available, 58.3 percent of the girls are Caucasian, 26.2 percent are African American, 10.7 percent are Hispanic and 3.0 percent are Asian. Approximately half of the girls in the after school program report participating in the free and reduced lunch program, which is used as a proxy measure for economic status.

12 Academic Performance Indicators The Chrysalis after school program does appear to have a positive influence on academic performance among participating girls. Seventy-Five percent of participating girls report that the program has helped them do better in school. Further, among girls for whom data was available, 50 percent were absent six or fewer days during the school year and 73 percent missed ten or fewer days of school.

13 Girls in the program maintained an average grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Only 15 percent had a GPA of less than 2.0 and 20 percent had a GPA of 3.0 or above. Overall, 85 percent of participating girls maintained a “C” average in school during the 2004-2005 year. On the standardized Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), the majority of participating girls performed at or above grade level.


15 Program Quality More than 95 percent of the girls reported a positive, supportive relationship with the leaders in the program, a critical component of high quality, effective programming for girls. In the area of physical and psychological safety, 90 percent or more of the girls reported that they “feel safe” in the program and that there are “clear rules” in the program

16 Wise Girls Hiatt Middle School After school Girls Group Respecting our Differences Sharing our Goals

17 This program faces many challenges not the least is the range of developmental stages that the girls represent as well as the cultural differences that can be very dissimilar than those of staff. Wise girls encompasses many girls from diverse backgrounds, religious dissimilarity and physical and emotional capabilities. Programming is created to allow each girl to work and learn at her own pace and share experiences and view points. Wise girls offers these young women an opportunity for new experiences with intentional focus on values, attitudes, encouragement, support to rise above hardships, tools for reflection, integration and friendships

18 Program Mondays 2:45-4:45 30 girls average attendance 3 facilitators

19 Group Schedule 2:45-3:15– snacks/bathroom break 3:15-3:45– small group/financial management 3:45-4:45-- presentation

20 Small Group Time Small group time is to help facilitate relationships with students and adults in a support group setting. Girls are encouraged to communicate with each other and share their feelings regarding their lives.

21 Program Goals and Objectives Girls gain a sense of self and their own unique power and potential Girls gain a better understanding of how to maintain physical and emotional well being Girls gain an understanding of the roles women play in the community Girls will begin to understand the skills necessary to live independent lives Girls gain increased understanding of relationships and their personal power to impact them.

22 Program stats




26 Ways we reduce aggressive behavior Individual conferences with girls Active listening Provide a safe environment Set rules and expectations Provide role modeling Shape relationship dynamics Build trust among girls and adults No tolerance for physical aggression Increase peer support and leadership to address inappropriate behavior Increase assertiveness by encouraging leadership Example– behaviors at the beginning of the year and behavior at the end of the year Example—physical, verbal and relational aggressive behaviors

27 The Girls

28 Questions

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