This spring, BYP Jr. just finished a program for girls called BYP Girl’s Club. It was a series of six workshops for the girls at HOST (Heritage Out of School Time). Eleven girls participated, ages 8-14. The BYP youth attended as peer mentors for the younger girls. We had a wonderful time… here are some highlights from the sessions!
For the first session, we entered into the topic of self-esteem and self-confidence. We made paper flowers that explored the traits that we like about ourselves. We also did a planting project, which involved learning how to make origami seed planting pots out of newspaper squares. We planted zucchini, okra, and green beans. When the sprout they will be transplanted into a garden next to HOST!
Our second session involved thinking about inner beauty versus outer beauty ideals. We had a special guest join us, spokesmodel Jess Chernovet. She gave a presentation on the modeling industry and how we can foster inner beauty instead of focusing on outer beauty. We did an exercise in which we sorted the things we notice when we look in a mirror. To remind us of positive thoughts about ourselves, we made charms collaged with magazine clippings on recycled plastic lids.
The third session was all about food. To celebrate food and make new friends, we played a game that involved guessing what food was posted on your back, and then finding your food match. For example, one girl would find out that she was macaroni and she would have to find a girl who was cheese. After the game, we engaged in a “Battle of the Smoothies” cooking demonstration. We made two smoothies: Power Gold and Angel’s Favorite Strawberry Banana. We voted on our favorite-the group was fairly split in half on which was the best. After that, we made some cucumber-cherry tomato sandwiches.
For the fourth session we focused on feeling healthy, both emotionally and physically. We played some games about emotions: an exercise called “Up and Down,” in which we explored the feelings we encounter in daily life and supported one another, as well as Emotion Detective, in which it pays to be a reader of other’s emotions. To practice exercise to promote emotional health, we did a session of yoga. Maggie White visited and lead us in an awesome yoga session. We learned a little about India, and even picked up some Sanskrit!
Our fifth session revolved around creative expression and the arts. Our main project involved creating a recycled stain glass window panel. Each girl designed individual rectangles, repurposed from plastic salad containers. The project involved outlining our designs with marker and then painting the other side. Once glued together, all of the designs made a lovely window hanging! After painting, we also got a crash course in how to make a mini zine from one sheet of paper!
Our last session was about fostering leadership and community. Most of the session involved a public speaking exercise that got the girls super excited. This was their prompt: If you were suddenly crowned Queen of the World, what five laws would you make everyone follow? The girls wrote their responses on index cards. Then, they had the opportunity to stand behind a podium and declare their laws, and then answer questions posed by the group. After the speech making, we played a game in which we found commonalities with one another and made a web with yarn. This was an excellent way to end the spring sessions, because each girl cut a piece of yarn and tied it onto another girl’s wrist while giving her a compliment.
Thank you to the following for making BYP Girl’s Club possible: Junior League, New Voices Pittsburgh, Jessica Schmid, Flavia Bleahu, Michele Blazina, Dr. Lisa Hinkleman, Gisele Fetterman, and Maria Cruz. Special thanks to the four young women who acted as peer mentors: Chawntay, Brandy, Angel and Deisha. Thank you also for our special guests: Jess Chernovet, Maggie White, Jenn Stover, and Alicia Luke. I also appreciate the added support of fellow BYP Staff: OnTae Smith, Brendan Renne, Evelyn Greene and Katya McCoy. And of course, thank you to all of the young ladies who participated!