We asked a Summer Program four-year participant about what leadership looks like in her life.
“In 6th grade I was afraid to introduce myself,” Niyea explained. She joined our PwC sponsored Spring Break Day Camp in seventh grade, and then started participating in our Summer Program with her big sister the following summer. So in 9th grade, when her teacher vetoed her Computer Science project, Niyea was ready.
Niyea had a conflict management tool she’d practiced and refined with friends from Girls Leadership, so she engaged her resistant teacher that day. It only took four steps:
Step One: Affirm the Relationship “I know you’re my teacher, and I appreciate you, and that you’re worried I’m working on this every day,” she began.
Step Two: Communicate Emotions Niyea let her teacher know how defeated it felt to be told she couldn’t take on something she felt passionate about.
Step Three: Own Your Part Niyea admitted that she could have supported her request with more evidence of how she would be successful.
Step Four: Address your Part and Ask for What you Need So Niyea laid out the details,
“My vision was clear: an app to ask students questions about themselves and suggest internships.” For college-bound students in New York City, getting internships is as important as the essay. Maybe more so. So Niyea did the hardest part, she asked, “If I keep my grades up, work on this after school for three days a week, will you support me?”
Her teacher agreed, and the app is now in its second year of internship matchmaking. “I’ve seen that teacher use the Four Step Conflict Management tool!” Niyea joyfully confessed.
This summer Niyea joined our community for all seven weeks, first as a Counselor in Training for our middle school girls, then with her peers as a participant. “The best part of Girls Leadership,” Niyea explained, “Are the other girls. The girls aren’t just my best friends. Our bond is really strong. I call them sisters, even seeing each other once a year. We talk about everything, we are vulnerable, we grow with each other. Those three weeks are life-changing. It is a family. I wouldn’t call it a camp.”
After high school, Niyea plans to attend the Naval Academy, and to be Marine Biologist with the U.S. Marine Corps. “Girls Leadership pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, pushed me to be a leader. I feel confident now. I’m outspoken.” Niyea is excited to bring the concepts of sisterhood the Four Steps to the armed forces.