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Powerful and Upstanding: Youth Take Part in Girls Inc. Week

By Wennicha Yang, Girl’s Counselor, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis
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“I am strong! I am enough! I am powerful beyond measure!” shouted youth as they moved. They were repeating positive self-affirmations as part of their Intensati workshop, a workout class meant to inspire self-confidence with positive phrases and movements.

Girls Inc. Week: Be Upstanding

Every year, Girls Inc. affiliates, like YWCA Minneapolis, across the country participate in Girls Inc. week. This year’s theme was “Be Upstanding: Taking Action to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Violence.” About 20 middle school and high school Girls Inc. participants gathered at YWCA Midtown where they engaged in an evening of sisterhood activities and conversation about sexual harassment.

Bystander Vs. Upstander

Two participants who are part of the Girls Inc. Council and Advocacy for Change (GCAC) led an informative workshop as part of their Community Action Project. They educated their peers about the differences between being a bystander and upstander, noting that a bystander is someone who sees something happen but does not take part in it; and an upstander intervenes to change the situation into something more positive. The girls not only made this an educational workshop, but a space to practice how to be an upstander through scenario situations.

Youth gathered into two teams after the workshop to play a game of jeopardy, testing their new knowledge on sexual harassment facts and how to be an upstander. One fact that stood out to youth was how early the sexual harassment epidemic starts, as seven out of 10 girls will experience sexual harassment by the end of high school.

Self-Affirmations and Self-Growth

To end their day, youth experienced their first Intensati class where they danced and shouted powerful phrases for self-growth. At the end, youth took home a stone gem as a reminder of how powerful they are, and shared a self-affirmation they were taking with them.

Learn more about Girls and Youth programs

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