Teen girls in the U.S. are in trouble. According to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that surveyed 17,000 young people across the United States, teenage girls have record-high levels of sadness. An alarming 57% of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, which is double that of boys.
“These data show our kids need far more support to cope, hope, and thrive,” said Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H., CDC’s chief medical officer. “Proven school prevention programs can offer teens a vital lifeline in these growing waves of trauma.”
For nearly 30 years, the Texas-based Girls Empowerment Network (GEN) has helped uplift teen girls from grades 3 to 12 with such school-affiliated programs. By boosting confidence, teaching self-efficacy, and showing girls the tools to handle stressful situations, GEN has helped over 15,000 girls by teaching them the vital skills to thrive and believe in their ability to be unstoppable.
A key way the Girls Empowerment Network achieves its mission is through a program called Girl Connect, which partners with 60+ schools in Texas to provide in-school or after-school courses that reliably improve wellness markers such as attendance rates, peer relationships, school grades, and more. Courses — or “modules” — range from topics such as creating healthy friendships, learning self-compassion, exploring career paths, healthy dating, and learning resiliency in the face of failure.
Girl Connect also teaches participants the “Six C’s”: Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Coping Skills, Creativity, and Confidence. By integrating school systems, teachers, and parents into programming curriculum, GEN effectively mitigates many precursors to issues that, if left unchecked, can exacerbate later in life, such as anxiety, poor confidence, and drug use.
After participating in a semester of Girl Connect programming, 98% of girls are promoted to the next grade on time, 94% gain tools to better handle stressful situations, and 90% of girls feel bonded with their peers. “Girls Empowerment Network helped me realize that you need to be you, not anything else; that what you want in your life will always come because you create your own reality,” says one sixth grade Girl Connect participant after completing the program.
By volunteering with the Girls Empowerment Network, you’ll help school-aged girls realize their power, find their voice, and more.
“We know that connecting youth to relatable role models has a substantial impact on their self-efficacy,” explains Brittany Yelverton, director of community engagement for GEN. “When our corporate volunteers take time to share words of affirmation or engage in capacity-building projects, they’re helping young people connect with adult members of their communities who believe in the power of girls. And that is transformative.”
Get in touch with us to learn how to participate in a social impact experience with the Girls Empowerment Network.