A summer program, “Lift While You Lead” is teaching middle school girls leadership skills, and how to build healthy relationships.
Middle school girls were partnered with University of California Merced mentors, who taught them lessons on stereotypes, body image, and leadership qualities. At the end of the summer program, the celebrated. They spoke of their experiences in front of their families and friends, and received certificates of completion.
During the four week program, they went on field trips to California State University, Monterey Bay, and the Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch. The zipline experience was helpful to girls overcoming fears and needing to try new things. In addition, there were discussions on bullying, body image, and healthy relationships.
“We learned lessons that can’t be found in a textbook,” Hlee Xiong said. “Like Ms. Delgado said, girls compete against each other, but young women and women empower each other.”
The program is led by Annie Delgado, a womens studies teacher at Golden Valley High School. “We see a change in their dialogue about where they see themselves in five years,” Delgado said. “They start talking about the problems in the world they want to solve.”