Women’s Empowerment Club Hosts Their First Virtual Meeting With Local Middle Schools.

Cecilia Tinoco

Bishop Noll’s Women Empowerment club hosted their first virtual meeting with local middle schools on Monday, Sept 21, 2020.

Noll’s Women Empowerment Club met with local middle school girls through a virtual meeting this past Monday, discussing many topics that are relevant to middle school girls.
“We try to establish a good relationship with our younger girls right away, assuring they are comfortable with us and know that they are in a safe place,” said senior Alejandra Castellanos, one of the club leaders. “We usually start with an icebreaker, this may be Jump in Jump out, a small scavenger hunt at home, two truths and a lie, etc.”
The women leaders assure the middle school girls that they are in a safe space to have these conversations without being judged.
“We have started using the program called Girl Talk and they provide us with the mini-lessons and topics,” Castellanos said. “We kind of just like to let the conversation flow naturally allowing the girls to branch off into other side questions or discussions when appropriate.”
The leaders are sure to discuss topics relevant and important to both the middle schoolers and the high school leaders, in order to give a sense of security.
“Some of our topics include “Body Image,” “Fitting In,” “Self-Advocacy,” and “Your Future Is Bright.” We usually pick a handful of topics from the Girl Talk curriculum, then let our girls here at Noll decide what topic they would like to host a meeting for, this way they can pick something personal to them and can help the conversation grow from personal experience.”
In order to connect with the middle schoolers, the ladies try to bring up topics/events they’ve experienced in order to allow the conversations to be more thorough.
“Some of my favorite moments are to see when the girls are genuinely happy to be there, see each other, and take part in our program,” Castellanos said. “Some of the middle schools have gone completely virtual and because they are younger they don’t get to see their friends very often or have an outside source to talk to. It makes us feel like we have all done something right when the conversation we create is fruitful and allows these young girls to become closer and realize they are important.”
Not only do these meetings help the middle schoolers, there is a sense of satisfaction and hope brought to the leaders as well.
“These meetings allow our girls at Noll a chance to help little girls who may be struggling with things they may have struggled with when they were their age,” Castellanos said. “Also, this gives the middle school girls an outlet they may have not had before, it is especially necessary that they get to interact with each other and us during these troubling times. Our hope is to make them feel empowered and confident in themselves, so that one day they can continue our work.”
Mrs. Katie Fredericksen, theology teacher and one of the club’s sponsors, said the club is open for any Bishop Noll woman who wants to participate and become a mentor for a middle schooler.
“Our Motto is ‘Empower, Inspire, Connect, & Change’. We want to inspire other girls, come together as a group of young women to support each other,” Fredericksen said. “We follow the Girl Empower Program, Girl Talk. This program sets out to inspire middle and high school girls to be confident leaders through peer-to-peer mentoring.”
The club meets every Wednesday, virtually or in person.
“We alternate between ‘mentoring in’ with each other from 3:30-4:30 (both in the building AND on a ring central call and the ‘mentoring out’ is the next Monday where a BNI student hosts a ring central call from 4:30-5:30 on a certain topic with local middle school students from our area,” Fredericksen said.
Fredericksen mentioned that any Noll student can be join the club by getting access to their Google Classroom. “They can join our google classroom code(sd4gcm6), and are more than welcome to come to in person meetings or any virtual meetings as well–it is every Monday,” she said.”