Tag Archives: team work

Still shot from NO MORE ad

“Know More.” No More.

 

Still shot from NO MORE ad

Still from NO MORE Super Bowl spot

The latest spot from the NO MORE campaign will debut during the Super Bowl, one of the most watched programs on television, with an estimated 110 million viewers this year. The program that’s notorious for its humorous commercials, half-time show mishaps, and competitive display of brute force, will shake things up with a little dose of reality this time.

In the middle of the Budweiser Clydesdale puppy and Doritos commercials, a somber spot will be aired. In the opening is the sound of a phone ringing; the camera pans to show a home in disarray from an apparent struggle. Then we hear the audio of a 911 call from a domestic violence victim pretending to order a pizza. The public service commercial will be one of dozens run by NoMore.org this year.  More commercials in the lineup, featuring FL players can be seen here.  The “Speechless” segment of the campaign highlights the emotional reactions of athletes and other stars when they are asked to talk about domestic and sexual violence. The deep sighs, tears and awkward silent reactions emphasize the message “Domestic violence and sexual assault are hard subjects for everyone to talk about.”

NFL Players Say NO MORE | Joyful Heart Foundation

It IS hard to talk about; it’s awkward and painful and too painstakingly real. I watch optimistically as NFL athletes and A-List celebrities promise “no more ignorance,” “no more ignoring the issue.” I can’t help but wonder, is it enough? It won’t be tolerated, but how will it be prevented? How do we ensure that the next generation of girls will never have to witness the vulnerability of their mother, sibling or peer being damaged by the wrath of violence? How do we ensure that these same girls are not the next generation of victims themselves?

Many of the young girls participating in our programs are far too familiar with violence against women; they witness it first-hand and often are victims themselves. Many victims of domestic and sexual violence become trapped in the cycle of abuse because they are dependent on their abuser and they lack a support system that could offer a judgment-free escape.

The World Health Organization lists the following as risk factors for being a victim of domestic and sexual violence:

  • Low education
  • Witnessing violence between parents
  • Exposure to abuse during childhood
  • Attitudes accepting violence and gender inequality

Builders in our program have the opportunity to escape their own realities in a safe environment as they gain hands-on experience building and using power tools.  Girls at Work hammers down the idea of gender inequality before our builders even have the opportunity to entertain such a concept. Each workshop offers an opportunity to build confidence and unleash the girls’ inner power. Girls leave our builds less vulnerable and with a greater sense of self-worth: That is the greatest defense against a very serious problem.

We can rejoice that the media decides to shed some light on these issues. There is an overwhelming call to end violence against women, but how do we stop it before it begins? This is a mission that requires an infantry, because the reality is that even the $50 million dollars of advertising during one of the most watched programs on television isn’t going to solve the problem. It is wonderful to see organizations coming to the defense of women, but we need to focus on teaching young girls how to defend themselves from their own vulnerability.

If you are among  the millions who see this campaign spot this weekend, we ask you to know more. Know more of the staggering statistics of violence against women. Know more about the organizations (like Girls at Work) who are not only taking a stand against violence, but are providing resources and prevention. Know that it will take more than just a conversation to address this painful issue. Know more. No More.

Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

Girls building

Each build reminds us WHY girls should build

 

 

Girls building

There are so many reasons why I love to build with girls. I’m certain that if I had to make a list of those reasons, it would go on forever.

Each and every build clearly shows why building with girls is such an important and powerful experience:  it teaches girls so much about themselves and the inherent power they have within.

Last week, in our after-school program, one of the little builders was struggling through the instructional portion of our program. This is a common occurrence in so many of our builders and I am sure the reasons for this vary widely. I used the line “stay with me” at least a half dozen times. Each time, I gained the little builder’s attention for a few minutes, but soon she would drift off once again.

What surprises me most with this sort of “attention-challenged” little girl is what happens when she uses that first power tool. It is incredible to see how unbelievably focused she becomes. It is almost as if our little builders who struggle most with staying focused for instruction absorb more than those who seem overly focused on instruction. And with every tool the focus remains the same!

I spoke to some of the volunteers on hand to find out what they thought of this. My background is not in the world of academia or psychology, though at times I wish it was. But it was pretty refreshing to learn that many kids today are tactile learners, and that building is a really wonderful way to reach them. So the next time I find myself using the words “stay with me,” I will remember that I am looking at another incredible little builder.

I’ll be sure to add this to the list of why girls should build!

Elaine Hamel

Executive Director

Girl builders

The Main Idea: Overcoming self-doubt

Girls building

There are so many moments to capture to define the true essence of why we do what we do with young girls. Taking girls outside of their comfort zones helps to shatter the lens of limitation and leaves girls asking “Hey, I wonder what else I can do?!” We are proud of the work we do with girls and so very proud of each and every one of our young builders.

The Main Idea is a unique 10-day, residential summer camp program in Denmark, Maine, which provides economically disadvantaged girls with a life-changing camp experience. The program provides girls ages 8-14 with a close-knit, family-oriented camp environment that allows each the chance to develop her personality, increase her self-confidence, and acquire new skills. Activities range from belaying on the ropes course, to team problem solving, to conflict resolution. Girls at Work, Inc. is fortunate to partner with wonderful organizations such as The Main Idea.

We went to Maine recently to build with several different groups of girls from New York, Boston, and many other areas. One block of time was spent building garden benches with a leadership group of girls, a favorite build this summer. Another was spent building a picnic table with another leadership group. On the last day of our time together we spent a full day with our leadership builders teaching our new younger first-time builders. It was wonderful to watch the leaders step into their roles and help the younger girls.

It is always exciting to watch the girls quickly pick up on how to upgrade paper on the electric palm sanders, change out drill bits and speed on a cordless drill, and conquer their fear of using a powerful saw. Watching as they support each other with guidance, and literally an extra hand, is an added bonus. We provide enough instruction with each tool to keep all of our builders safe, but leave out many steps to encourage critical thinking. We also provide challenges that can only be overcome with the help of a teammate. There are so many lessons our builders learn along the way, both about themselves and about the importance of teamwork.

We overheard one of our little builders say “Oh, I am so bad at building” as she started working with us last week. I felt the need to address this in the moment. I asked this little builder if she had ever built before. She quickly responded that she had not, so I asked what her statement was based upon. She really had no idea. At the end of our time together, I ask our young builders what they had learned about themselves while building. This builder who at the beginning said she was bad at building now said she was really unfair to herself and that she needed to be proud of herself for trying new things. She also said she believed what she told herself and needed to send more positive messages to herself. Many other builders chimed in and said how much they loved building. We often ask them to dig deeper and think about what it is they love about building. “How strong and smart I am” was what we heard more often than not.

One night at dinner we sat with a little camper that was quite homesick. The next day we met her Girl buildersin our workshop. She was hesitant to try her hand at building. When she saw everyone else jump in, she decided to step up. Halfway through our time together, one of our builders said “I can’t believe how much I love to build.” Our little homesick camper quickly shouted “Can you add me to that?”

The icing on the cake is the “bragging moments.” As different groups of builders head off to different activities, we watch as they stand a bit taller than they did before building. But the real proof is how many rush back to the shop area with friends before the lunch or dinner bells. Some day we hope to have a video camera on hand to record the comments that range from “Dude, I totally used all those real tools to build this,” to “Seriously, they let you use all that stuff, it’s not just for men?”

Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

Professionals step out of their comfort zones

Group build

Many companies look for ways to get their staff out of the office setting for exercises that challenge them to discover who they are as individuals as well as team members. Our corporate build program does just that. We can take our equipment to a business of the business can come to us to build in our workshop.

The Corporate Build Program is designed to help professionals step out of their comfort zones and rely on each other to complete a build. The majority of our participants have never used power Group buildtools, let alone built anything, so we have participants discuss how they feel at the beginning of the program. Many say they have feelings of frustration, failure, uncertainty and inadequacy. It is important for all of our participants to connect with these feelings, because while it is a passing moment for them, for many of the girls we build with, it is all they know.

Our initial goal for Girls at Work, Inc. was simply to empower girls through building. This mission has grown into a “larger than life” mission as it deeply reaches through to girls who have known nothing but failure. They are so defined by that failure that it takes extreme measures to shatter that mindset for even just a moment.

We provide an enormous amount of information and demonstration to teach our girls how to safely use power tools. We then provide a sample project with very little direction for assembling all of the pieces that they have cut, sanded and pre-drilled. This enables them to think critically and dig deep to prove to themselves that they are both capable and powerful!

At the end of our corporate build we asked participants to connect with their feelings once again. Words shift to “powerful,” “skilled,” “awesome,” and “so capable.” We then asked them to think about how this shift in mindset can help a young girl to —some for the very first time — feel powerful and smart.

The picnic tables built in the program are often donated to an area non-profit. We also apply all the revenue generated from our Corporate Build Program to our non-profit partnerships, which enables us to empower many more girls.

So if you are looking for an awesome, outside-of-the-box experience for your staff, here are a few reasons to consider a corporate build:

  1. Learning how to safely use power tools is empowering;
  2. Working with coworkers in a very unfamiliar environment provides challenges that inspire trust;
  3. A spark to help get you fired up to tackle projects around the house;
  4. Donating to a non-profit is a win for everyone;
  5. You are investing in your staff and young girls at risk.
Girls at Work, Inc. logo
Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!