Kappa Kappa Gamma’s GIRLS (Girls Inspire Real Leadership and Service) Academy

MOUNT DIABLO DISTRICT MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS TO PARTICIPATE IN LEADERSHIP PILOT PROGRAM

(Concord, CA) – Some 50 7th and 8th grade girls from Pine Hollow, Riverview and Sequoia Middle Schools will participate in a two-day leadership pilot program that will be conducted May 1 and 2 at Pine Hollow Middle School. The girls, between the ages of 11 and 13, were identified by school administrators and teachers to participate in the leadership retreat, which is tailored specifically to the needs of the young teen girl.

The pilot program, entitled GIRLS (Girls Inspire Real Leadership and Service) Academy, is being sponsored by Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, an international woman’s organization, whose members and staff will facilitate the one-and-a-half-day retreat. The interactive program will include small group discussions, personal journaling and reflection, and a community service project. GIRLS Academy Specialist Volunteer Trainers will lead the workshop, and collegiate and alumna members of Kappa Kappa Gamma will serve as role models and small group facilitators.

GIRLS Academy participants will learn basic leadership concepts and the significance of leadership in everyday circumstances, evaluate their personal leadership styles based on contemporary social behavior, evaluate and practice making ethical decisions in personal and leadership situations and more. Benefits to the participants include positive effects on interpersonal skills and social development, an increased likelihood of future community involvement and philanthropic activity, and a reduced chance of engaging in risky behaviors.

This pilot program has been in development for eighteen months and builds on Kappa Kappa Gamma’s arc of qualities: leadership, scholarship and friendship. Fraternity President and Riverview Middle School Principal Denise Rugani says, “We have an amazing resource in Kappa Kappa Gamma, with an incredible organization of strong women who have a Tradition of Leadership. We can build a bridge for these young, future leaders and help them connect with their emerging values by modeling leadership practices and establishing mentoring relationships with local collegiate women, who are members of our organization.”

A recent Harris Interactive Poll surveying 2,000 girls and boys in grades 3 through 12 found that 47 percent of those surveyed said that “people don’t think girls are good leaders,” and 56 percent said that “girls are expected to speak softly and not cause trouble.”

JoAnn Allen, Director of Student Support Services for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, says, “If you feel good about yourself, you can conquer the world. But a lot of girls in our society need help getting to that point.” GIRLS Academy is one program to provide that help.

The pilot for GIRLS Academy will take place in northern California, with the next GIRLS Academy to take place in Boulder, Colorado. Future GIRLS Academy programs will take place across the United States and Canada, with the events held at the hosting middle or junior high school.

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