For young girls navigating middle and high school, it's easy to feel isolated and uncertain in the changes and challenges they’re facing. However, participants in North Star Youth Partnership’s Girl Talk are often surprised and unified in realizing that their peers feel the same way they do.
Girl Talk Empowers Middle and High School Students
North Star Youth Partnership, a program of Catholic Charities, supports youth with opportunities to help them become self-assured, confident adults who are active in their communities. Girl Talk provides a safe environment where middle and high school girls can learn new skills, participate in games and crafts projects, and make new friends.
Girl Talk brings girls who may not have otherwise met together to share advice, find companionship and hone their leadership skills. It also helps them discuss tough topics that they may not normally feel comfortable talking about.
Learning Life Lessons
Each week, as Girl Talk Leaders, the high school students present a new lesson to the middle school girls. These lessons include topics like friendship, finding your talent, gratitude, body image, and acts of kindness. Lisa Reinert, the Youth Program Specialist for Girl Talk, supports the Leaders in picking the lessons and sharing what’s important to them.
This year, for example, students in Prescott, Ariz. learned the power of letting go of negative thoughts and feelings. The girls wrote everything they wanted to let go of on plates and broke them in plastic bags as a way of disconnecting from the things holding them back.
Girl Talk also encourages students to set goals and have positive role models to look up to. They created vision boards exemplifying goals they hope to achieve. Each girl was asked to give an example of who they admire and why, and decorated a wall hanging with inspiring words and quotes.
Tackling Difficult Topics
Even when it comes to uncomfortable topics, Girl Talk Leaders have a way of making them approachable and engaging. When the girls talked about unhealthy vs. healthy conflict, they decorated photo frames with strategies to help them cope with conflict. They learned that it was okay to disagree, but what counts is knowing how to resolve the problem.
The impact of Girl Talk extends beyond the classroom. The group also plans holiday parties to help the girls celebrate and get to know one another better. Leaders know that not every student may have a supportive home life, and holidays can be especially difficult and emotional in these situations.
Girl Talk shows the beauty and inspiration that can come from girls working together. They learn how to be vulnerable in a world where it’s not always easy for women to let their guard down.
If you’d like to learn more about Girl Talk, visit North Star Youth Partnership.