HW Smith Building Women Group Teaches Teamwork, Empowerment
Published on 2/18/20
District News HW Smith K-8 School
Young ladies at HW Smith have been building their self-worth, teamwork and leadership skills – and improving the school – thanks to a Building Women group. Offered through Peaceful Schools, the group provides regular enrichment to girls in grades four through eight.
Currently in its second year at HW Smith, Building Women meets every other day. Over the course of the school year, the girls focus on seven areas of wellness: intellectual, financial, physical, emotional, social, spiritual (talking about values) and community. They take part in teambuilding activities like tower building challenges. They talk about how to deal with stress and how to set goals and improve their grades. They discuss women in history and in their own lives who show traits like perseverance. Their efforts extend far beyond the walls of their classroom.
This year, Building Women led the school’s celebration of International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th. Sixth grade students researched the lives of girls in countries around the world and presented to younger students at the school’s weekly assembly. Eighth grade students visited younger Building Women students to read together and offer mentoring. The group even led a successful campaign to make their school bathrooms nicer, adding deodorants, sanitary items, plants and inspiring posters to the spaces.
“Building Women has taught me that girls can do everything that boys can do… even if we think we can’t!” sixth grader Nadia Jackson said. “When I get older, I’ll be able to teach other women how to cooperate and work together as a team.”
“The group has taught me that girls can do anything – even what adults do – if we put our minds to it,” Bisharo Rafi added. “Building Women is important because as women, we are learning how to speak up for ourselves.”
“The goal is to help girls transition through early adolescence,” Peaceful Schools Building Women Instructor Bridget McManus said. “I always tell my girls that studies show girls' self-esteem drops much more dramatically between ages 8 to 14 than boys' does and our job is to support ourselves and each other in remembering our value.”
Keep up the great work, ladies!