Last Thursday was the second “Girl Empower” session, this time at the incredible Casey Elementary in Jackson. The brilliant Sarah Thorton and Raven Scott came with me to Ms. Sam Greenleaf’s classroom where 30 second grade girls were waiting. I was blown away by these smart people!
We talked about what empowerment means- “That you are strong!” “That you don’t let anything stand in your way!”
Then I asked if any of them had ever experienced someone putting them down. Half of them raised their hands and talked about the same thing: bullies.
“What does a bully do?” I asked.
One brave girl said that they “push you against the wall in the cafeteria and say mean things to you.” My heart was broken for these strong girls who face bullying and put downs everyday… and I was also taken back to my time in elementary school, where at least twice a week I visited the school counsellor to cry about that “girl who called me fat” or “stinky,” and I think there was one instance where I was actually threatened. Those ugly words left an negative impression on my self esteem that lasted throughout middle school. Admittedly, I was also a drama queen (shocker) and more than a few of the counselor visits were either for attention or the delicious mints that Mrs. Hughes kept in her office. Whether I wanted the attention (mints), or wanted lament my shattered confidence, I wanted my voice to be heard. I hope that these “Girl Empower” sessions gives space for these girls to realize the power of their voices.
We all became “Empowerment Fairies” by writing encouraging notes to one another.
As it was our queue to pass our papers, the phrase “YOU GO GIRL,” was shouted, sung, and rapped in unison every 30 seconds- and I’m telling you, if you want to feel empowered, just have 30 second grade girls yell this at you for a solid 10 minutes and all will be well…