In a parent-teacher meeting a few years ago, K’s teacher had nothing but negative feedback to share about her with her mother, M. The criticism was so relentless that M asked K to leave the meeting. A few months later, M brought K to the Girl Power program at the Women’s Centre.
M soon witnessed changes in her daughter. “She went from being somewhat lonely to suddenly becoming very popular among her classmates and teachers, and was invited to parties and sleepovers almost every weekend. Once K was happier, she was better able to decide which fights were worth having and she could disengage from negative situations and people.
“Attending Girls Programs gave K a non-judgemental community, which gave her the confidence to make friends. They met a transgender woman and an MLA, they did yoga and kickboxing, and a volunteer showed them traditional fighting weapons for Sikh women. I think it opened her eyes to a world of choices and diversity. I think that, sadly, as a black girl in this society she doesn’t see too many models of success. I think she might have given up, but now she sees there are so many ways to be. Success can mean so many different things, so many different people choosing different paths and that’s what I love about the Women’s Centre, that you showed my daughter hope.”
Girls Programs at the Women’s Centre are developed in partnership with participants and in response to issues they tell us are important to them. We offer two drop in programs for girls throughout the school year: Girl Power (Grades 5 & 6) runs Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-5:30 P.M. and Girl Force (Grades 7-9) runs every Tuesday evening from 6:00-8:00 P.M. These programs are hosted in the Women’s Centre (39 – 4th St NE). Programs are free and include snacks, supplies and bus tickets.