Girl leaders plan advocacy in Monterey County

Posted in: Girls Leadership Network (GLN), Taking Action
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How did you spend your Saturday?

 GHGH’s girl leaders and educators joined forces on this past Saturday (1/24/15) at an advocacy training provided by the  Youth Leadership Institute’s (YLI) incredible trainer Patty Barahona.

So, what exactly is an “advocacy training” you might ask…see below for details!

Patty Barahona, YLI’s Senior Program Director SF getting the day started with energy by leading a “What Does Action: Look like? Feel like? Sound like?” activity.

With over a dozen youth in the room and educators from almost all our collaborative partner agencies, the room was a buzz with talk, laughter and some good thinking about how we see action. Participants reflected that community action “sounds like music to my ears, something that I love,” and “it feels a bit scary but empowering and exciting too.”

We started to learn that advocacy is all about making long-lasting change.

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Every post-it represents an impactful event in GHGH history, as remembered by the participating youth and adult allies (educators).

In planning community action, a key step is taking stock of history, what has been done before us? What has succeeded? So that we can ask; where are we going?

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Girl leaders from Girl’s Inc, Monterey County Rape Crisis and Postpone (MCHD) with Planned Parenthood adult ally planning future action steps for GHGH together.

At our yearly health summit in Fall 2014, girls from across the county overwhelmingly let us know that they were lacking in Social & Emotional support and resources. The work at this training was to plan how to lead the charge to make sure that this changes for all girls!

In the training we learned that action for sustainable (long-term) change must involve the following:

1. Address root causes of problems

2. Demands “an ask;” or something specific decision-makers can respond to

3. Mobilizes those most affected by the issue to create larger impact (in this case, girls 11-18yrs)

4. Achieves results that last beyond your project

5. Needs action-based activities to drive the work

6. Will SHIFT THE BALANCE OF POWER in the community

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Small groups of girl leaders and adult-ally educators work together to think about how to make community change together.

Keeping these key principles in mind we decided that GHGH was going to ask for the following this Spring 2015:

A) Board Of Education Resolution* to gain support for GHGH’s work & highlight social/emotional health data.

B) Board of Supervisors Resolution to gain support for GHGH’s work & highlight social/emotional health data

(*A resolution is a formal statement of support from people in power that can help move a cause into a greater awareness and set up for future change efforts)

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Role-playing exercise to discuss our Resolution with the Superintendent and the Board of Supervisors. We were very serious…

  Because youth are not usually in a position where they speak and get to ask for things from people in power, the role play exercise (see above image) was a lot of fun and helped solidify our “ask” and practice getting clear on what we want for girls’ social & emotional health across the county.

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GHGH Girls’ Leadership Network and adult-ally-educators with YLI trainer Patty, promising you that GHGH is out to make lasting change!

We will spend the rest of Spring 2015 working on gaining support from people in power and  we ask that you join in supporting the cause of Social & Emotional health for girls in Monterey County.

And have fun doing it!

Some quotes from the Girl Leaders and educators about the training:

“Props to the GLN and PLN for attending this training.  I’m sure girls at the summit just thought they were dropping a slip of paper into a bucket when they cast their vote, but here we are taking the responsibility to actually develop a plan and I think that’s pretty cool.”

“Not everyday do you spend time with a room full of girls that are nice to you.  This room is full of really good vibes.”

“In 2015, I am so looking forward to working on community change with GHGH.  Die-ins, protests, letter writing, count me in.”

“I have participated in social action workshops and they weren’t as focused and didn’t make much sense.  This one was definitely the most productive.”


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