A group of our dedicated volunteers and the scholars they support were invited to a special night of poetry and art. GirlsInc. staff led a workshop around writing Haiku poetry, and then each participant wrote one of their own. The poem became the theme of a small jigsaw puzzle they created.
Building connection between volunteers and the youth they support is an important part of our trauma-informed approach to programming and this activity was a perfect way to encourage that kind of connection. During the last weeks of our high school programs operating in the remote environment, concerns about social isolation are addressed with these opportunities.
Youth in our middle school program had the opportunity to design a roof to a sports stadium under the direction of architects from Populous, a worldwide architecture company that specializes in sports venues. This exciting project inspired curiosity about architecture, design and creativity. The youth learned about how sports venues are designed, how long a project can take from design to completion and all the amazing places where Populous does its work.
This kind of exposure to STEAM careers, many of which are male-dominated, and making connections with professional women is a bedrock of our focus on gender equity. Research shows that despite equal interest in elementary school, by 8th grade girls are half as interested as boys in STEAM careers, limiting their access to rewarding opportunities. Social capital is critical to overcoming the inequities embedded in our society, and our programs aim to address these issues not only by providing participants with sustained exposure and opportunities, but also by connecting them with a network of supportive adults who provide encouragement and support.