The Girls Circle program uses a strengths-based, skill-building approach that creates a safe space for girls to address risky behaviors, build on protective factors, and improve relationships in a format that interests and engages girls. Led by trained co-facilitators, the age-appropriate, theme-based curricula and activities are designed to help girls hold on to their voices and stay true to themselves, enhance judgment and critical-thinking skills for wise and healthy choices, counter trends towards self-doubt, and improve self-esteem.
Research indicates that Girls Circle groups are very beneficial to girls' well-being. Significant findings include:
• decreases in alcohol use
• decreases in self-harming behaviors
• increases in attachment to school
• increases in self-efficacy
Falmouth Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS), in partnership with Falmouth Human Services, has worked to expand the Girls Circle program in Falmouth since it made its debut in 2009, with a Circle for 5th grade girls at Morse Pond School. Grants from the Cape and Islands United Way, Falmouth Education Foundation, the Kelley Foundation, and the Falmouth Prevention Partnership have helped expand and sustain this program. 4th grade Circles now run regularly at all four elementary schools, the Morse Pond School (grades 5 and 6), and Falmouth High School. This spring, we developed a customized curriculum for 7th and 8th grade girls at Lawrence School, based on a focus group where girls told us what they wanted to talk about. That program is called SHINE, named by the first participants (Sisterhood for Health, Individuality, New connections, and Empowerment).
What do participants in Falmouth have to say about the Girls Circle program?
“I loved that we could talk about how we feel and just be ourselves”
“I have accepted my body image and can tell the difference between a negative image and a positive image”
“I learned that it does not matter how you look”
“I liked Girls Circle because when I was having a bad day or a situation, we talked it through and I felt better”
“I have noticed that I make wiser choices about myself and what I say to other people”
“Since joining Girls Circle I have noticed that I have been nicer to my friends”
“I loved this group! You are all so kind!”
“I know how to work out friend problems and I have been more courageous”
“You can trust the people in Girls Circle. They helped me solve a problem that was bugging me for a long time.”
“I have noticed that I have become a more self-confident person since coming to Girls Circle."
“I’ve come to believe in myself more.”
“I learned more about how to solve problems the right way and how to put myself in someone else’s shoes.”
“Since joining Girls Circle I have noticed that I am able to stand up for myself.”
“I learned that it’s okay to talk to people about your feelings.”
“I learned in Girls Circle that if you are facing something difficult, you are not alone.”
What do facilitators in Falmouth have to say about the Girls Circle program?
“My partner and I have completed 8 of our 10 Girls' Circle meetings. I can honestly say that I don't know who is benefiting more, the girls or us! It has been such a rewarding experience. The eight girls in our group are very diligent about coming and are always anxious to participate in whatever we are doing. The girls love to talk and share and also love creating in our projects every week. We have discussed topics ranging from Friendship to Body Image to Bullying. The girls have written in their journals, created paper flowers, mobiles, and even acted in role plays. I think all of our girls have gained some confidence in themselves, as well as developed some new
friendships. I think we have gained a better understanding of what it’s like to be a girl growing up in 2012. [We are all] grateful for all of the help we have received. We
feel truly lucky to be participating in such a worthwhile endeavor.”
--Morse Pond 6th grade co-facilitator
“The awesome part is how receptive and motivated the girls are when discussing what it means to be a girl, their pride in being girls, what can they do to respect and understand their differences as they work and share together. The program provides a warm and safe environment in which they are comfortable sharing and supporting each other. During a recent seventh grade Circle, topics of "sexting," dealing with a parent's divorce and remarriage, chronic health problems (alopecia and seizure disorder), and "the seventh grade dating scene" were discussed. The insight and maturity of these discussions were heartening.”
--Lawrence School 7th grade co-facilitator
Falmouth Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS)
c/o Falmouth High School, 874 Gifford St., Falmouth, MA 02540
(508) 548-1621 firstname.lastname@example.org
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