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Ongoing mentorship program putting Beloiters in the community

November 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

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Girls Who Rock, a program sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Badgerland Council, has Beloiters getting involved with the community but also, they say, learning something about themselves. The program brings women from Beloit College to fifth-grade girls across the Beloit School District for a 6-week mentoring session.

“We engage at-risk girls in leadership, mentoring, and community partnerships,” said Jan Knutson, the GWR program coordinator. “GWR seeks to build self-esteem, provide adult role-models for the girls, and highlight women’s strength, ingenuity, perseverance and accomplishments.”

The program just finished at Morgan School, and began its first week of mentoring at McLenegan School on Nov. 13.

Rebecca Schekel’16, Lauren Bagley’16, and Sarah Keller’16 mentored at Morgan School with the program from Sept. through the end of Oct.

“We usually talk in small groups about topics like stereotypes, bullying, or famous women from history,” said Keller. She adds, “I really like that the girls not only work with adult mentors, but with their peers. I think it's important to show the girls that their mothers, sisters, friends, and they themselves are strong too.”

Bagley grew up with a strong support system from her mother and two grandmothers.     “Thinking about how different my life would be had it not been for [these women] is what really spurred me to becoming a mentor to other girls,” she explained. “The most exciting thing about the program was getting to see the transition the girls make from the first day of the program to the last. Seeing the girls go from not caring about school to hearing them talk about their goals for their future and how they are going to reach them is an amazing feeling.” Scheckel has been mentoring with Girls Who Rock for three of the 6-week sessions, since last January.    

“Every time I work with a new group of girls, I learn something new about myself and how fifth grade girls view the world,” she said.   

Scheckel plans activities for the girls, and talks with them about their days. “I tend to have the girls work at their own pace, making the activities as fun as possible.  Sometimes they've had a really long day at school, and sitting around writing in their journals is the last thing they want to do, so we talk about what we've learned that day instead.”

Girls Who Rock is funded by the Hendricks Family Foundation, which allows the program to offer the workshops for the girls free of charge. The typical number of volunteers for each program is 8-10, including both college students and women of the college as well as community members. Anyone interested in more information on the program or looking to volunteer can contact jdknutson@netzero.com.

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