Strong Girls Building Strong Minds
Our free after school program begins in 3rd grade and continues through high school to build a solid pipeline to college and career. Our elementary and middle school programs build skills in social and emotional learning (SEL) and includes focused mindfulness, health and fitness and academic support. We collaborate with local organizations, schools and community members to provide enriching activities, role models and mentors. Once in high school, our program shifts focus to provide workshops in career readiness, academic advisement, life skills and college prep.
Building Strong Minds Through SEL
Our program includes a research and evidence-based SEL curriculum that our trained partner teachers facilitate four times a week for 36 weeks. There are 12 segments in all that cover skills such as responsibility, conflict resolution, accountability, empathy and being a good friend. Each segment identifies certain standards and objectives to be met. Segments are delivered using an interactive, highly energetic and creative mix of skits, music, journaling and circle discussions to drive home each lesson. At the end of each segment, we conduct assessments to measure whether those objectives have been met. Research overwhelmingly confirms that SEL skills such as teamwork, responsibility and empathy are as necessary as mathematics and language arts skills, both in school and in the workplace.
Building Strong Minds Through Mindfulness
We begin each day with 10 minutes of guided meditation and mindfulness. Our girls embrace the power that comes with intentional focus and have learned to apply that in all aspects of their lives, from calming themselves before an exam to recognizing stress cues at home, in school and socially. Our girls understand that becoming mindful takes practice and they are all stepping up to the challenge. Mindfulness contributes directly to the development of cognitive and performance skills and executive function. It helps young people pay greater attention, be more focused, think in more innovative ways, use existing knowledge more effectively, improve working memory, and enhance planning, problem solving, and reasoning skills.
Building Strong Minds Through Health and Fitness
We spend 20-30 minutes each day engaged in high-energy, fun fitness that includes zumba, calisthenics, yoga and dance. Our girls understand the importance of a fit body and a fit mind. They are learning about food choices as well and are making healthy decisions about their nutrition habits. With rising concerns about levels of physical activity, or inactivity, among young girls in particular, we place a high priority on both fitness and nutrition.
Social and Emotional Impact
Research and Evidence
"An extensive body of rigorous research (including randomized control trials, longitudinal follow-ups, and multiple replications) demonstrates that education that promotes social and emotional learning (SEL) gets results, and that teachers in all academic areas can effectively teach SEL. These findings come from multiple fields and sources that include student achievement, neuroscience, health, employment, psychology, classroom management, learning theory, economics, and the prevention of youth problem behaviors."
-Collaborative for Academic Scoial and Emotional Learning