BENEFITING: Girls Empowerment Network
I know you care about girls in Texas and you share my interest in ensuring that every girl in our community has a chance to build the successful future she wants. I want to tell you more about one girl from the 180 Program, which reaches girls just before or at the time of their first offense and helps them get back on track, preventing them from entering or re-entering the juvenile justice system. Jasmine* was in a group led by GEN Program Coordinator Kara*. Each week Jasmine would come to group, where Kara served as a positive role model and helped the girls bond and build skills. After a few weeks, Kara was proud that many of the girls were starting to open up and share, letting down their walls, but she was concerned about Jasmine, who remained quiet. She checked in and Jasmine said she was fine, but she just was shy. In the middle of the program’s run over the fall semester, the topic of sexual harassment came up from some of the girls. For the first time, Jasmine shared a personal story—that she had been raped when she was younger. She told the group about it briefly, explaining that her mom had worked to press charges but after that, her mom had never wanted to talk about it...ever. So Jasmine had stayed quiet for years but she was tired of keeping her feelings bottled up inside. The other girls rallied behind Jasmine and made her feel loved and supported. Kara thanked Jasmine for sharing. She followed up with Jasmine and asked her if they could make a plan together to get her the additional emotional support she needed. Jasmine was referred for one-on-one therapy, while she continued building supportive bonds with Kara and the other girls in her 180 group. In 180, Kara was excited to see that Jasmine had a new sense of safety and comfort in the group. And for the first time that semester, Jasmine smiled several times interacting with her peers and the curriculum. Jasmine shared with Kara later: “I never felt free to talk about this before and ask for help. You allowed me to open up. I’m more thankful than you know.” Jasmine is not alone, and because of GEN she knows that now. Many girls struggle with feelings of loneliness, fear, anger, stress, worthlessness, and anxiety. Sometimes these feelings manifest as outbursts in class, fighting, self-harm, and other negative behaviors. That’s where we come in. This fall, 79% of the over 700 girls in our 180 Program learned healthy ways to cope with stress and 87% reported that they could turn to GEN staff if they needed help with a problem. You can help us change more lives like Jasmine’s. $36 will provide a girl just like Jasmine 2 hours of 180 programming which will give her new coping skills and access to a supportive group in her school. Will you help a girl in need? P.S. Every $18 donated results in one hour of programming for a local girl in need of more support.