As the summer comes to an end so does my job at She Crew. She Crew is a program specifically targeted towards girls from the ages 12-14. The progams focuses on woman empowerment through Journaling and performance art. Founded by partners Jessica London-Sheilds and Meredith Montgomery. I was informed about the program by one of my friends (and now development associate) when I expressed interest in a summer job.  After a phone interview and an actual meeting, I started shortly after. This summer we worked with 10 girls. The program starts at 12:00am and at the beginning the girls are helping prepare meals. This part I think insures self sufficiency and nutritional values.  The girls were encouraged to try new things and help always.  The program is six weeks in total and very busy usually. Everyone was either doing an acting exercise or writing. At the end of the program the girls would compile what they learned into a performance.  At the same time they are being asked about gender equality. A lot of the writing prompts focused on growing up as a girl. I specifically remember one day where the girls where asked how they felt different as a girl.  Even though all where very different we could all relate to the answers.  Another day it got very emotional discussing street harassment. Although the girls were very young they still had to deal with what many women have to every day. She Crew was a safe space.  I often get asked if the girls got along well I answer ,”yes”. I can say we rarely had conflict if any at all. You could call it a sisterhood.  The girls were very smart and kind . From day one I was impressed with them. One of the girls had insight on women’s rights and was very wise, she was only twelve.  Another girl could vividly explain different worlds as if you were there yourself. They were  Incredibly talented and always willing to learn. They showed nothing but teamwork and encouragement with one another. If I could describe the founders in one word it would be “Drive”. Throughout the program they were very determined in making sure the girls were at their full potential.  Meredith (or Mere) was very good at asking questions , pushing the girls to dig deeper within themselves.  Jessica (or Jess) was good helping them perform better.  Teaching them new techniques and games that were very helpful when it came time to act. They both, for the girls and for me specifically, were definitely supportive. Even though they had to teach an entire class of girls of color they were definitely allies and willing to listen. They  often made sure the girls got home safe. They Asked them if they felt uncomfortable and then giving them the space they needed.  Other than being great teachers they are good friends.  The programs is free and as accessible as possible.  Their main goal is to reach as many girls. At the end of the six week program the had to compile everything they had learned into something they could perform. This year’s show was called “Girl Riot”. The story was about them in detention for sexist school rules and demonstrating a Protest. Some of our favorite pieces throughout the program made the cut. One about self doubt called “Rust”. Another physical performance mixed with a writing piece about zombies. At the end of the performance the girls said lines about who they dedicated their words too. “To every girl who has ever …” was a strong ending to the strong compliation. I personally was emotional at the end , I was very proud of the progress each girl had made. This is not only inspirational but necessary in growth at this age. Beyond being something to do during the summer (and also an after school program) the program is a learning experience.  Teaching them about self confidence and their importance in this world.  Giving them a voice they don’t get to showcase often. Meredith and Jessica are heros in their own right. Inspirations and possibly the future of education. Thank you. To learn more about She Crew and even donate : shecrew.org

 

# #

August 3, 2015