Girls Amplified is an after-school program that I’m in the process of developing with my sister, a high school drama teacher with an MA in Theater Education.  The curriculum seeks to promote media literacy, writing skills, empathetic listening, and public speaking skills through the lens of social justice and community building. Rather than individual empowerment, our aim is to give girls in junior high and high school the tools to collaborate with one another to harness the power of storytelling to create social change.

The program in its current form consists of 10-12 week, twice a week course in which junior high and high school aged girls will learn:

1. How to write, perform, and produce narratives, theater pieces, and video
2. How to critically analyze and interpret media stories
3. How to listen to and affirm the stories of others
4. How to start to collaborate, build communities and incite change through storytelling

Girls will come out of our initial program with the confidence and tools with which to start making their voices heard and affecting change in their communities. The program will end with a showcase in which each girl will share a live performance or media piece that tells an important narrative about her life.

In the fall of 2015 we piloted the program at Central City Values High School in Los Angeles, CA, a public charter school near Koreatown. We assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the program through interviews with the initial class of girls and gathered data through surveys given before and after the program.  We’re currently working on implementing pilots in Chicago and in Champaign in the spring of 2017 and we plan to produce packets to send to educators in several other states to run the program themselves to provide additional feedback.

You can find out more at our website: http://www.girlsamplified.org.