Girls Group enjoy fun evening

Young women ages 16 to 18 may apply for the next training sessions scheduled for the fall.

Recently, Comox Valley Girls Group facilitators and supporters enjoyed a fun evening in preparation of the launch of their new website and blogs.  The groups are sponsored by Comox Valley Transition Society and are funded by the Central and North Island United Way and the Vancouver Foundation (until July 2011).  The site is being implemented to further meet the needs of local girls and their caregivers.

Professional photographer Gordon Ross donated his expertise for a studio photo shoot. Chatters hair stylists donated hair styling.  Talented makeup artist Crystal-lee Young provided studio makeup. The theme was to showcase the diversity and unique personalities of the facilitators.

Co-ordinator Wendy Morin was thrilled with the results.

“I started Girls Group 13 years ago to provide a safe, supportive space to all girls to explore their experiences and learn skills for healthy living.  Hundreds of girls have participated over this time.

“Major strengths of the program are inclusivity and celebration of individuality. Girls do not feel pressured to fit stereotypes in group – they can be their authentic selves and not feel they have to conform to societal expectations. We help them to navigate that. Gordon’s photos capture and promote playfulness and comfort in one’s skin.”

The development of the website was a natural next step in the evolution of the program. The site will provide general information about the group and session schedule, as well as facilitators’ bios. As the site grows, there will be a wealth of resources for caregivers and the girls themselves to access.

“There will be interactive activities on topics such as women’s history, sexual exploitation and relationship violence.  There will be tips for girls on dealing with various challenges such as relational aggression (girl bullying), body image, dating relationships, peer pressure, etc.  There will also be parenting tips and links to current research on girls such as girls’ substance use.  And of course the blogs will allow girls and women of all ages the opportunity to discuss gender issues and to share their voices with the larger community.”

Tara Moses of Tara Moses Website Design offered her services to Girls Group, while volunteering with the program.  Tara is completing a Masters in Counselling, so the collaboration was a natural fit.

Wendy says, “Tara really understands what Girls Group is about, and combines that knowledge with her website design skills.  We’re very fortunate to have her expertise.”

There will be a summer group for 13 to 16 year-olds running on Monday afternoons, starting July 4.  Pending additional funding, next year’s plans may include workshops in the schools for both girls and boys about healthy relationships.  Regular groups begin in early October.  Peer facilitators co-lead the groups and workshops.

Young women ages 16 to 18 may apply for the next training sessions scheduled for the fall.

Female bloggers are welcome to send submissions for publication on the site.  For information about upcoming groups, peer facilitation training or to send in blog submissions, e-mail  wendy@comoxvalleygirlsgroup.com or call 250-897-5568.  Visit the website at  www.comoxvalleygirlsgroup.com

— Girls Group

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