A call to preteen girls

Graduating from elementary school is an exciting benchmark in the educational lives of young students. Of course it also means that next year will bring a new school and new challenges.

Fortunately students do have access to guidance in dealing with the transition. At Oyama Traditional School (OTS), student leaders are actively pursuing the help that is available to them and bringing it to a wider audience in the community.

A group of girls from the school discovered a program created by Okanagan-based Courage for Youth that helps girls respond to the unique changes they will face when they enter high school. The girls phoned the organization and arranged to meet with its representatives to learn more about the program.

“Voices” as the program is called, is taught over the course of four sessions and deals with issues such as peer groups, adult interactions, media exposure, academics and support systems. Participants learn to build self-esteem by embracing positive values and critically thinking about the messages that the mainstream media carries to young girls.

“What’s so cool about this is the level of leadership these girls have shown already in getting this program going in Lake Country,” says OTS principal Ross Hett.

To date the Oyama girls have made a presentation on the benefits of the program to 75 girls at Peter Greer Elementary and arranged to have information on the program printed in the Davidson Road Elementary newsletter.

The Voices program is open to all grade six and seven girls living in Lake Country. The dates for the sessions run from May 17 to May 26 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. The cost is $25 per individual for the four sessions and includes an additional session for the parents to help coach their daughters through high school. Registration forms can be picked up in the office of any elementary school in Lake Country and must be returned by May 17.

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