G.O.A.L.S – 1/10/17

The results of the “My Culture” activity where he had the girls place a sticky note on their family’s country of origin, causing great discussions and learning about other cultures. The map does not even begin to reflect the diversity within this program!

G.O.A.L.S – 12/6/16

During one of our weeks, our primary goal was to talk about the importance of maintaining self worth and confidence in yourself. As high-schoolers, we are aware of and have experienced the struggle of self-identity and confidence that many go through, especially in middle and high school. To expand on this topic we had a group conversation about the importance of recognizing and enjoying qualities in yourself, which we soon saw was a topic the girls struggled with. One component of this topic was being able to take and enjoy a compliment instead of putting it aside or rejecting it as so many including myself do on a daily basis.  It was particularly interesting that the girls were readily able to tell another that she is beautiful, but refused to say that about themselves, thinking that they were bragging about themselves as many were accused of bragging in the past. We reflected on how modesty is an important characteristic to demonstrate, but you can and should be proud of yourself regarding accomplishments, personality characteristics, personal qualities and so forth. To elaborate on this topic, one activity we all did was to write a list of ten things that we love about ourselves, from something that we’re good at to how we treat others.  Again, the girls explained how they felt like they were bragging and didn’t know or like anything about themselves, but after reflecting on it and even some personal stories, we were all able to write our list, some exceeding the minimum. In our daily lives and supremely as a pre-teen or teenager, it is vital to have confidence in yourself and recognize and particularly love your characteristics, accomplishments, personality, and so forth.  Additionally, we can build and improve these traits, such as augmenting how we treat others and build respect as well. We certainly feel that the girls benefitted from this conversation and recognized that they are allowed to love everything about themselves, and share those qualities and accomplishments with others.

-Ellora Easton

G.O.A.L.S

Hello and welcome to the official website of G.O.A.L.S (Girls’ Optimal Academic Learning Society) which is currently exclusive to Oak Grove Middle School in Concord, CA. Each week, we will be posting blogs to track our progress and publicize our activities. However, this first blog will be a general recap and overview of our program. As noted in the “Our Story” section of our website.

G.O.A.L.S was founded with the intention to optimize education and the school environment for middle school girls by providing a safe space for both academic purposes as well as discussing relevant, personal issues. For the first few weeks, we have taken a look at various themes, the most notable being: advocation, leadership, women representation in politics, bullying, and so forth. As our program has grown from the initial 3 girls to 15-20 each week, we have increasingly been able to play group activities and build a “sisterhood.” In addition, we provide journals and thought-provoking prompts for the girls to complete that relate to the theme at hand. However, this club is not solely a serious environment for we ensure each week is a fun meeting! As one of our girls said, “Each week I look forward to Tuesday’s [because of G.O.A.L.S].”

This club has also taken a community service direction, but to the girls’ discretion (not the leaders). We have seen growing interest in helping out in the community from the girls themselves and in 2017 we plan to take steps in that direction. The girls remind us each meeting how much they enjoy this program and also notify us when they would like a change or a repeat of certain activities; it is clear that our wonderful members run the program. None of this would be plausible without the immense help of the Oak Grove administration, but more specifically Ms. Sechrist and Ms. Filios, as well as the PTA. Without their support, we would have been unable to pursue or even establish G.O.A.L.S. Our hope is to pass on leadership to our current members so when we (the mentors) depart for college, they will be able to carry on the program. This club is simply an embryonic structure, but the future ahead looks successful and prosperous.

-Aava Farhadi