Girls ADVOCACY AND LEADERSHIP SERIES (GALS) - Philadelphia, USA
Launched in 2009, the GALS program equips 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. Over the course of the program, participants are trained in: Public speaking; Financial literacy; Global women's issues; Community advocacy; Digital Literacy; and Team building.
WCI is currently offering the GALS program to twice per year, during Spring and Fall sessions, at the First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. The GALS program includes fourteen workshop days. Workshops are designed to introduce skills that build upon each other to promote community advocacy, as well as bolster confidence and capabilities to support future leaders’ academic, personal, and professional success. Each week, participants hear from an expert speaker in the field of the skill set for that day, and then break into teams to practice activities designed to develop those skills.
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. Over the past year, campaigns focused on a variety of important issues:
- The deportation crisis affecting undocumented immigrants
- Child abduction
- Sexual harassment
- Visibility and opportunities for children of color: "Destiny's Children" (pictured left) created a social media campaign using the hashtag #SeeMeNow to raise awareness about children of color doing great things.
100% of participants cited an improvement in their confidence to speak publicly in front of a group. We were thrilled to have Desiree Peterkin Bell as our spring graduation speaker, and she even surprised our GALS graduates by taking them to College Signing Day with former First Lady Michelle Obama!
We are so proud of our GALS grads and are excited to be continuing our work at the First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School in the fall of 2018!
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!
INTERESTED IN BRINGING GALS TO YOUR SCHOOL? EMAIL BRYNN@WOMENSCAMPAIGNINTERNATIONAL.ORG!