fostering connection & collaboration
Brave Girls: Raising Young Women with Passion and Purpose to Become Powerful Leaders
By Stacey Radin PsyD with Leslie Goldman
Sadly, it has been estimated that a girl is bullied every 7 minutes and that bullying peaks in middle school. “Unleashed,” Stacey Radin’s after-school program, which empowers middle-school girls become experts in animal rescue and welfare, helps these girls gain confidence, find their voice and stand-up for themselves. According to Stacey, she wanted to create something that would “unleash” the power of girls and also invest in our next generation of female leaders. When the girls graduate from the three month program, they realize their ability to make a positive impact in their community which can then translate to the world at large.
This puppy-rescue program is a combination of social justice, leadership development, community service, teamwork and fun. For most of the girls, it’s their first experience where their voices and opinions are not only heard and valued but acted upon.
To Stacey, these girls are “diamonds in the rough” and by accentuating their capabilities and using mistakes as learning opportunities, these girls learn to embrace their power.
...these girls are “diamonds in the rough.”
The girls help each other as well, by sharing and talking through conflicts. As one sixth grader told her group, they didn’t have to be scared to reveal intimate parts of themselves and that the reward outweighed the risk. As Stacey observed, “when you try on someone else’s shoes even for five minutes, your perspective shifts.”
And as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimension.” That certainly is true for these girls. By the end of the three months, they have learned to assert themselves with conviction, opening doors of possibility to create change and make a positive difference. As one participant noted, “before Unleashed I wouldn’t have been able to speak up.”
Margaret Mead sums up Stacey’s mission and purpose best, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”