As parents, we know that teenage girls are basically swimming in a hormonal sea. If you’re lucky, your teenage daughter’s rationality comes and goes evenly like the tide. But other times, she may hit like a Tsunami that we never saw it coming. In the blink of an eye, our world gets turned upside down …

The Grocery Line, The Swimsuit Issue, and Kids

Simone Marean thinks we can turn Sports Illustrated Swimsuit‘s controversial cover into a powerful, teachable moment with our kids.

Sports Illustrated is doing us a big favor. Next week they are releasing a swimsuit issue cover that showcases such an absurdly unrealistic version image of “beauty” that can serve us adults as a teachable moment for us, and our kids. Because they are making sure that this image is everywhere, everyone will have the …

Change Your World: Keds Brave Life Grant Winner Emily Cole

This Fall, Keds gave away fifty $1,000 grants to help young women ages 13-24 bring their dream change projects to life. Emily Cole, a Girls Leadership Summer Program alumna, was one of the grant recipients.

How did you hear about the Keds Brave Life Project? I actually heard about the Keds Brave Life Project from the Girls Leadership Institute Facebook page! My mom directed me to the post and I thought, “What could it hurt? Only good could come from it.” What goal for change do you have for your …

Orientation, Also Known as an Introvert’s Nightmare

Celeste Barnaby shares her experience as an introvert during her first week as a college freshman.

Most colleges have an orientation period before classes start where freshman move in and spend a couple days getting situated, learning about the school, and meeting their peers. There are usually a lot of cool events that you can choose to attend at your leisure. This is your chance to make a first impression and …

Book Notes: Brown Girl Dreaming

Shannon Rigney invites us to read Brown Girl Dreaming, a book of poems by Jacqueline Woodson.

Jacqueline Woodson’s newest book Brown Girl Dreaming tells the narrative of her childhood through a collection of poems. Woodson has won numerous awards for the work of her prolific writing career, and Brown Girl Dreaming is a finalist for the National Book Award. Here, Woodson sketches a thoughtful portrait of a herself as a girl, …

Dear Friends, Last week, Girls Leadership Institute (GLI) alumna (former camper and staff member) Lilly Jay did something infinitely brave: she traveled to the White House, told her story of sexual assault in college, and introduced Vice President Joe Biden, who formally launched It’s on Us – a national campaign to combat sexual violence on campuses. Lilly is a …

At Girls Leadership Institute (GLI), we are more excited than ever for this year’s International Day of the Girl. Three years ago, the United Nations designated October 11th as the “International Day of the Girl Child” to recognize girls’ rights, bring attention to the challenges girls face, and promote girls’ empowerment.

What Can Parents Do About Mean Girl Behavior?

In Part 2 of 2 of her series on bullying, Samantha Parent Walravens provides pathways to discuss Mean Girl behavior with your teen girl, and steps to take if bullying is happening.

As a parent, what should you do if you suspect that your daughter is being bullied by a mean girl?

1. Get the facts. Find out what’s happening, who’s doing it, how long it’s been going on, and if the teacher knows.
2. Make sure your child knows that it’s not her fault.
3. Talk about ways of responding to mean girls’ behavior. Role-play with her, acting out the different scenarios she might encounter.
4. Encourage her to get involved in activities that focus on her talents and interests, especially activities outside of school and even outside of town. This will help her form new friendships outside of the “cliques” and put her with kids who share common interests. It may help your child realize that the mean girls are not “all that.”
5. Tell her your own story if you were bullied as a child (and most of us were, in some way). What did you do in response? Did it work?

What Motivates Mean Girl Behavior?

Samantha Parent Walravens gets to the heart of the “Mean Girl” culture, so that we can effectively address it. Instead of merely demonizing the behavior, understanding the motivations can be a first step to stopping it.

Our culture is fascinated with the image of the mean girl. Reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of New York, The Jersey Shore, and The Hills feature real-life mean girls in action — publicly humiliating and spreading nasty rumors about each other, pitting friend against friend, excluding or rejecting former friends, and even engaging in physical aggression.

Keep Calm and Play On

Sophia Barnhart, our Summer 2014 Communications Intern, writes about her passion for soccer and competition. She sheds light on the gendered biases that exist within athletics, and she encourages us all to pursue what makes us happy to overcome these biases.

It’s no secret—I’ve always loved the thrill of competing. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents that supported my drive and encouraged me to play sports. I dabbled in many—softball, gymnastics, swimming, and tennis—but I wasn’t able to satisfy my passion for competition until I tried soccer. From learning how to kick a …