Monday, November 10, 2014

A Look into Powerful Choices: Building Community and Sisterhood

Selena in action at Powerful Voices (above) preparing for group.

“Any group of people who come together to discover (and tune into) the power within”
-- Malidoma Patrice Some
It has been an amazing first month with Powerful Choices as programming has been a beautiful growing process. Growth in building community and sisterhood through group activities and community agreements.
After recruitment in September, we now have two awesome girls groups with a total of 32 youth at both Denny and Asa Mercer International Middle Schools.

The past 4 weeks have flown by and I am so excited to see how our community continues to blossom. Building community is essential in creating a safe space for girls to be able to express themselves, share their voices, critically engage, and explore issues important to them while celebrating sisterhood.
In building community, we shared our goals for Powerful Choices:
1)      Build a Safe and Healthy Community of Girls and Women
2)      Know and Grow Self More Deeply: In Voice, Action & Vision
3)      Listen and Share with Others About Things that Matter Most to Us
4)      Explore Issues that affect Women and Girls: In School, In Our Communities, and Our World
5)      Celebrate the Power in Self & Sisterhood.
These goals invited dialogue for girls to express what each goal meant to them or examples they see within their lives, communities and society. In order to achieve these goals and grow in community we also formed our CommUNITY AGREEments. An emphasis on “unity” and “agree” to show that we can come together, united, and agree upon what we as a healthy community need in order to ensure safety. Creating agreements encourages girls to voice and name what they need to feel, be, and stay safe individually and collectively in our group.  Our agreements for both groups consisted of what we wished to develop over the course of the group and also what we wish to be kept out of our safe space.

To surround the community agreements we formed a heart with our Gifted Hands on a poster. This consist's of colorful paper cut-outs of open hands that stated each girl’s name, 4 strengths she has on each finger and something she wishes to cultivate/grow in on her thumb,. These Gifted Hands embrace our agreements so everyone can “take to heart” the importance of honoring our safe space and community!

These agreements are created to help facilitate the cultivation of a healthy and positive community as well as provide a framework for making healthy choices. The agreements act as a reminder for girls to feel proud, safe, and build healthy relationships now and into their futures.  This speaks directly to Powerful Voices vision for “All girls [to] live healthy and personally meaningful lives in a society that values them” and that begins with cultivating a safe and healthy community for young women in many spaces.

My heart is filled with warmth and gratitude for the connections that I have witnessed being created in both Denny and Asa Mercer’s Powerful Choices girls’ groups!  The excitement, engagement, positivity and celebration of sisterhood are truly inspiring. I look forward to sharing more about the growth of our community as we continue to focus on our goals in the weeks to come.

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