Not Your Grandmother’s Girl Scouts
These are not your grandmother’s Girl Scouts.
They are way, way cooler—thanks to the empowering influence of Girls For a Change, a national, non-profit organization that enables middle and high school girls to organize their own projects to effect social change in their own communities.
The group’s mission is simple: motivate teams of 10 youngsters at a time to create specific goals for their schools and neighborhoods, and then give them the tools, support, and guidance to meet those goals. On the grand scale, what they are doing is giving the girls a voice, hosting positive peer groups, fostering mentor relationships with GFC-trained ‘Coaches,’ and hopefully encouraging a lifetime of social awareness and activism.
Projects coordinated by the teams have included making their schools eco-friendly, helping connect people with health insurance, advocating for equal access to higher education for immigrant students, fighting violence against women and combating hate speech and homophobia.
Clearly, they are very industrious young ladies, and founder & CEO Whitney Smith (quite an industrious lady herself) has no doubt that they are the start of an important movement. GFC targets ethnically diverse schools in urban locations, and already has a presence in ten US cities—and counting: “We have interest from an additional thirty-seven distinct communities in the US and twenty-two countries around the globe,” says Smith. “We want to empower all girls to change the world and by doing that gain the voice, ability and problem solving capacity they need to realize their full potential!”
GFC has already benefited more than 950 girls on action teams, but this number does not include the hundreds of adult coaches trained to empower, nor the lives impacted by the numerous side projects that the organization promotes. To mention a few, the group is currently working in coordination with Kotex to promote healthy body image on a national scale, and Smith is attending the G(irls) 20 Summit in Toronto next week for an international collaboration toward the Millennium Development Goals.
This trans-inclusive, girl-empowering, inequality-smashing—and, might I add, lesbian-founded—organization is delivering major smackdown on the social justice front. Give their website some love and see what you can do to get involved. (girlsforachange.org)