As teens make the transition to young adults, they often feel alone in adapting to the changes and challenges that come their way. Girl Talk, a North Star Youth Partnership program of Catholic Charities, connects Prescott girls in middle and high school with mentors who help them navigate everything from self-esteem building to resolving conflicts with friends.
Deanna, a Girl Talk College Leader and student at Yavapai College, first got involved when someone from the program came to talk to her school. She started volunteering in her senior year of high school, and then returned to Girl Talk after taking a few gap years.
Balancing Tough Topics with Empowering Activities
Especially during COVID, Deanna has seen how important it is that the girls have a safe space to talk. The group currently meets virtually to discuss topics like being yourself, body image, microaggressions, and facing discrimination. Deanna and the girls also make time for fun activities and craft projects, like making ice cream and creating decorated affirmation signs.
“They get companionship and attention and have some friends because they’re so isolated…They really like to connect with not just us leaders, but other girls. They get to hang out and talk about problems,” she said.
In addition, Deanna works with the girls on service projects to help better the community. Last year, the group passionately organized a coin drive to collect donations for those affected by the wildlife fires in Australia.
Shining as a Spirited Leader
But it’s not just the participants who experience the benefits of the program. It’s helped Deanna discover her leadership skills, too. She appreciates that Lisa Reinert, the Youth Program Specialist for Girl Talk, delegates work and allows her leaders to plan and pick lessons. Deanna’s goal is for the girls to realize that, no matter what they’re going through, things will get better.
“I’ve really opened up as a leader and taken on more responsibilities than I thought I would have. It really surprised me how strong of a leader I can be,” she added.
Deanna’s future is bright and full of even more public service opportunities. She is excited to transfer to NAU in the fall and complete her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science. After she graduates, Deanna looks forward to joining the Peace Corps.
If you’d like to learn more about Girl Talk, call Lisa Reinert at (540) 588-7818.