Girls ADVOCACY AND LEADERSHIP SERIES (GALS) - Philadelphia, USA
Launched in 2010, the GALS program equips under-represented teenage girls in WCI’s home community of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the leadership skills, confidence and connections necessary to create true social change in their communities. An after-school program during the academic year, GALS develops participants’ sense of personal power through workshops focusing on increasing health literacy, discussing global issues affecting women and girls, and building life skills in order for them to advocate for themselves and their communities. Through GALS, participants have a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills and create and lead their own advocacy campaigns to have a positive, long-term impact on their communities. The girls present their campaigns to family and friends at a culminating graduation ceremony. Some topics that participants have focused on this year include:
The deportation crisis
Opportunities for children of color
“Pretty Pride” held a fundraiser at their school to raise money for LGBTQ+ organizations. They sold rainbow lemonade and cookies!
Kiersten founded “Confident with a K”, a campaign to increase self-esteem. She taped encouraging messages around her school to make her fellow students feel loved.
Bria, a GALS participant from 2010-2012, recently reached out to WCI to tell us what impact GALS had on her. Here's what she had to say:
"WCI came to my school and a few of us, who the school thought would benefit, were chosen for the program. We saw it as a leadership building opportunity, and we took it. I gained a lot of friends and confidence through the program. Networking was a main component. I met people from different organizations, businesses, and even different countries. GALS taught me that I have a voice and that I should use it for those who can't speak up for themselves. I am a firm believer in giving back to those who helped you. I believe that if you can't give back monetarily, then you give back with your time and your gifts. I want to help other girls like me, who thought they didn't have a voice, to show them that they have a voice, and they can't be silenced. I also wanted to show girls that no matter what society tells them, they are greater. "
Now a student at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Bria is the Vice President of the Activities Program Board, a Senator on the Student Government Association, and a Student Ambassador of Shippensburg University. She plans to obtain her Bachelors in Business for Marketing in 2019. We are so proud of Bria, and can't wait to have her join us as a nonprofit management intern this summer!
WCI works with a variety of community partners in Philadelphia who provide food donations and in-kind services to make our GALS program possible. Meet some of them here:
INTERESTED IN BRINGING GALS TO YOUR SCHOOL? EMAIL BRYNN@WOMENSCAMPAIGNINTERNATIONAL.ORG!