Dear Friends,

This month exceeded our wildest expectations: Shannon sang along with her ukelele in our pilot kindergarten and first grade program, Rachel piloted our workshops for college women at Smith College, and we moved into new offices to accommodate our expanding family. Does it get any better than that?

Our office is now in Emeryville, CA, home of other great companies such as Pixar and Scharffen Berger. We’ll do anything to get closer to chocolate and the movies. We have two extra desks waiting for our new interns, so if you know a bright, motivated and hardworking someone wanting to gain non-profit experience in the East Bay, please forward this link.

You can read below to learn about Rachel’s experience at Smith, some GLI Sophomore Summer projects, and a cool new mother/daughter journal that Nathalie discovered in Colorado. We are saddened that our biggest month ever (165 families took part in at least 8 hours of GLI workshops in October), was also a month where the suffering of bullied youth reached new heights. Click here to read Rachel’s recent column in Newsweek about the myths around bullying.

We wish you a safe and warm November.

All my best,

Simone Marean


Rachel Simmons at Smith CollegeGLI Goes to College!
This month, I began working with undergraduates at Smith College in my new hometown, Northampton, MA. In a dinner workshop series called “Leadership for Rebels,” sponsored by the Center for Work and Life, twenty-three young women learned GLI tools, including Inside Feelings, internal voices, and how to identify the difference between a “Good Girl” and a great leader. After they got their silly on with Whoosh (and loved it!), and practiced fierce eye contact through Circle Switch, students explored how valuable it can be to let go, be goofy and stop caring what others think.

Why GLI for college students? First, college is a moment when young women are perched on the precipice of the Real World. They have to make crucial decisions that can influence years of their lives, so self-knowledge and awareness are invaluable. Second, undergraduates today have had to jump through endless hoops to get into good schools. Along the way, in the attempt to please admissions committees, many lose touch with themselves; GLI can help restore that connection. Third, college-aged young women are developmentally poised to reflect deeply, feel intensely and learn in great gulps. What an incredible time to bring the GLI spirit and tools into your life!

I’ll be teaching a second round of workshops in the spring of 2011. As for the first group: well, we couldn’t say goodbye, so we’re tacking on small group sessions and continuing our work. Awoo College GLI!

— Rachel Simmons

GLI Girls Change the World: Sophomore Summer Update

Group Jumping
This past summer, 12 girls returned to GLI summer camp to learn how to leverage their GLI leadership skills to contribute to their own communities. The Sophomore Summer program at GLI helps girls develop a project to create social change. Participants learn skills like goal setting, strategic planning, public speaking, professional communication and graphic design. They develop their own theories of effective leadership, forge connections with community leaders and present their projects to the camp community and board members.

In 2010, projects ranged from peer leadership programs and poetry workshops to gardening with nursing home residents and helping animals affected by the BP oil spill. The girls developed their “internal resume” by working on soft skills like giving and getting constructive criticism.

This fall, the girls have been launching their projects. Kimberly has presented two workshops using GLI games and skills to the National Charity League. Kelly is holding a garden clean-up this month with nursing home residents. Frances is creating a curriculum for her peer mentoring program. Other girls are holding meetings with school administrators and laying the groundwork for their project launch. All this while doing all those extra-curriculars, finishing college applications and studying for SATs! We are crazy proud of everything the girls have accomplished so far. Stay tuned for updates from the girls in coming months!

— Lindsey Dedow

Girl Find

Girl Holding 'Just Between Us' BookIn my work with girls and parents, I’m always on the lookout for supplements to our workshops and camps – pieces to add to our communication toolkit that will build upon and strengthen our relationship skills. I recently added a wonderful gem to my repertoire. Last week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet mother/daughter authoring team Meredith and Sofie Jacobs. Together they have created a remarkably beautiful mother/daughter journal they titled, “Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms”.

The journal is created to provide a space for mothers and daughters to share information with one another through writing. Not only is this medium perfect for revealing information that may be too challenging to discuss in person, but it also provides a great outlet for when mom isn’t around and her daughter can’t wait to tell her something. What’s more, it provides guided pages with journaling ideas, picture drawings, and Q&A that mothers and daughters may not otherwise think to share with one another (i.e. “A decision I made that changed everything”, “If I could have any superpower, it would be…”, “what I loved to draw when I was your age” and much more. We even get to analyze one another’s craziest dream).

I ordered the journal as soon as I heard that this duo was hosting a mother/daughter tea in our community. What was delivered to my door was this amazingly creative, fun and captivating journal that my daughter couldn’t wait to dive into. I asked my daughter to share her thoughts about this journal, and here is what she wrote (verbatim – I was asked not to edit):

My mom and I have a mother-daughter journal. I love it because it gives you a chance to have a better life, to figure out challenges, and to have a better relationship with your mom. My favorite page is where you can say, “Love it!” or “Ew! NO!”, to different things. I recommend the journal for mothers and daughters. They will love it. It’s really awesome! By Elizabeth, age 8, daughter of Nathalie

I echo her heartfelt recommendation (and, personally, I can’t wait to work on the “Design Your Dream Room” page). Not only do I look forward to connecting with my daughter in this intimate way, sharing and learning more about one another, but I love that we will have the journal as a lifelong keepsake.

— Nathalie Pratt, GLI Community Marketing Director, Colorado

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