The Rebecca Project for Human Rights
Summer Leadership and Mentoring Program for Teen Girls
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The Rebecca Project’s Leadership and Mentoring program via Arts integration, was created in the Summer of 2009 for teenage girls in DC, MD and VA to coach, educate, and motivate teenage girls to seek and accept agency to empower themselves to become leaders.

This program was implemented to help avert high rates of STD HIV/AIDS infections, teenage pregnancy and, consequently, lower academic achievement in Washington, DC. In our program, the core concepts of leadership, by integrating arts and motivational speakers, are incorporated in our girl leadership workshops to include the following:

  1. Communication skills.
  2. Connecting and building relationships with other girls and adults.
  3. Creative thinking.
  4. Critical thinking.
  5. Introducing girls to college opportunities and careers.
  6. Learning assertiveness and avoiding aggressive or passive behavior.
  7. Learning body language and listening skills for better communication.
  8. Mentoring.
  9. Organization.
  10. Reclaiming voice and tradition dictated by males.
  11. Role models.
  12. Working cooperatively.

In our program’s four to six week summer workshops, girls explore themes of empowerment, leadership and personal responsibility through innovative art workshops. The expected outcomes are increased personal development, self-empowerment and self-esteem; and girls develop a strong sense of self, gain practical and healthy life skills and strengthen values to give them a sense of hope and possibilities.

LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING GOALS

Averting adolescent pregnancy by incorporating the participation of parents and health experts in leadership workshops is a central goal of the leadership program. This will encourage communication and factual information about pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and sexuality. The goal is to build skills for saying no to sex at an early age and never having sex without adequate protection. The consequences of early pregnancies will be discussed as a practical issue related to poverty and not achieving a higher education. Furthermore, girls at risk are encouraged to accept mentoring from staff and other volunteers through the academic year.

In 2009, dance was the integrated art form incorporated in our summer leadership workshop. Girls improved their abilities as dancers and learned to articulate original ideas as leaders in a variety of creative forms. The 2009 summer workshop was coordinated by Binahkaye Joy, an amazing gifted dancer and Artistic Director of the mobile dance laboratory, JOYISM (www.osadance.blogspot.com ) in Washington, DC.