Established in 2012 at Estes Elementary School (Marana Unified School District), Growing Girls is year-long after-school psychosocial intervention for 5th and 6th grade girls. With the goals to reduce or prevent relational aggression and increase positive peer relationships, Growing Girls teaches girls how to have healthy friendships, think positively, communicate assertively, make difficult decisions, resolve conflicts and seek help, and navigate through bullying and cliques. Girls also learn about gender roles and media messages, body image, self-esteem, puberty, and taking care of themselves.
Adapted from the Go Grrrls intervention (LeCroy & Daley), Growing Girls includes 22 two-hour sessions, offered after school through Estes Elementary School's 21st Century Community Learning Center. Girls also participate in an annual spring field trip to the University of Arizona, bonding as a group while beginning to envision academic and professional dreams.
Female undergraduate/graduate UA students from the Colleges of Education, Psychology, and Public Health are recruited as Group Leaders to facilitate weekly lessons and provide mentorship. Prior to the intervention, Group Leaders receive training in the Nurtured Heart Approach® and Positive Youth Development to ensure authentic connection with participants and intervention engagement.
Girls complete a survey at the beginning and end of the intervention to record changes in victimization, self-esteem, peer-esteem, assertiveness, and coping skils.
Growing Girls continues to reach early-adolescent girls at a pivotal age when bullying begins to peak. Over the last several years, 200+ fifth and sixth grade girls have completed the Growing Girls program, demonstrating the need to provide girls with a safe space to learn about tough topics and build community with one another.
For more information about Growing Girls, please contact Lindsay Bingham, Health Educator Sr. (firstname.lastname@example.org)