Dear Friends,

Happy Mothers’ Day month! We have a special place in our hearts for the incredible moms in our community. Girls Leadership Institute (GLI) moms are our dynamic, daily faces of leadership; they bring our programs to their schools and communities, raise funds for us to provide scholarships and build capacity, and, most importantly, work hard every day to be the best possible models of leadership for their daughters. Today we are excited to give back to our moms with a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-released research from our Brave Life partnership with Keds. Read on to check out our surprising findings when we talked to girls across the country about how they find their inner brave girl.
To those of you who’ve helped us raise $22,000 in summer camp scholarships–thank you! We are one third of the way to our goal and we have three weeks left in our campaign. If you haven’t had a chance to support our girls yet, don’t miss out. You have an incredible opportunity to be the one that makes a difference for fifty motivated young women who need help to attend out summer progam.
All my best,
Simone Marean
Executive Director and Co-Founder

Sneak Peek at Research on Bravery with Keds 
When we learn about teens, we typically hear that adolescence is a time of separation from adults when girls and boys turn to peers for support. Yet, despite this knowledge, parents don’t brace themselves for the shift in relationship that leaves them begging for a clue into their child’s inner life.
Last month, we interviewed girls in middle school and high school across the country and across the socio-economic spectrum about who they looked to for support. We expected parents to rank poorly, but were excited to discover something else! We found that teen girls are almost twice as likely to pick their mom as they are to choose their friends as the person who helps them be brave. When teens need help, they are three times as likely to turn to a parent for that support as they are to ask a friend. Sounds like the distant teen may be more a front than a reality.
Other facts the survey found include:
  • 77% of girls believe their mother helps them pursue goals bravely.
  • 63% of girls view their mother as a role model.
  • 48% of girls turn to their mothers for support first.
Over 70% of girls say the number one thing a parent can do to help a girl feel brave is to give her advice. The number two thing is to make her feel loved and supported.
Happy Mothers Day! The rest of our findings are coming soon. Stay tuned.

Announcing our 2013 Annual Report!
Our staff and board came together to reflect on what we’ve accomplished with your help and to strategize about our future. We have a number of objectives for 2014: to continue to grow our direct program services with special emphasis on providing greater equity and inclusion, design new programs, launch our original research initiative, and begin work on our online dissemination of new materials for parents and educators who don’t have access to our programs.

Here is an overview of what we’ve done in the past year and a preview of what’s to come. Click here for the full annual report.

 2013 Overview

•  Served 6,500 participants

•  Ran 166 programs

•  Attracted participants from 24 states and 4 countries

•  Created new curriculum for grades 6–8

•  Increased scholarships awarded by 118%

•  Increased participants served by 50%

 2014 Preview:

•  Serve 10,000 participants

•  Run over 200 programs

•  Run first bilingual programs in Spanish and English

•  Increase scholarships awarded by 100%

•  Publish original research

•  Launch online content dissemination

A Love Note for Day Camp

Many of you are familiar with our residential summer camp, but may not know that we run day camps as well! These are weeklong camps typically for girls in rising 5th and 6th grade, held during Spring Break and in June. This year we doubled the amount of day camps that we offered, and our educator, Rachael Bruck, wrote a love note for Day Camp to share a little bit of what it is all about…

Each morning’s the same. Before they even enter the building, the girls can hear the sounds of Shakira or Demi Lovato bumping from the windows. Inside, the educators are hanging posters, teaching each other dance moves, and making wearable mustaches out of pipe cleaners. The girls look on with wonder and a bit of apprehension. “Who are these crazy ladies?” their eyes silently convey. “I don’t know, but I like them.” they think to themselves.

Morning games beckon the girls out of their familiar, quiet shells into a world of silly noises, big body movements, and lots of laughter. As the day unfolds, so do the girls personalities. Without even knowing it, they are bonding and sharing, creating and discovering, opening and divulging. Never having done yoga before, they are touching each other’s feet and leaning on each other for group tree pose. Never having played poop deck before, they are shrieking and rolling around in the grass. Never having written a love note before, they are sitting together in silence, crafting precious letters to one another while the music plays on.

It’s the end of the week, and the crescendo of silliness and closeness is at an all-time high. The girls are demonstrating Olympic-level skills in Whoosh, have come to camp wearing empty KFC containers to show their team spirit, and remark in a perfectly pre-teen fashion that camp was “way better than I thought it would be.”

“Yessss!” the GLI educators think quietly to themselves. “What a successful week!”

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