Kada vam neko kaže da više voli sebe posle učešća u programu samoodbrane, to je nešto u što odmah ostavi utisak. To je jedna od prvih stvari koje su mi rekle vršnjačke edukatorke iz Girls’ LEAP-a. Slušajući njihove priče o tome kako su bile stidljive, bojažljive, nedruštvene, a zatim posmatrajući njihovu transformaciju u osobe koje se bore za sebe i druge, preuzimaju liderske uloge u svim sferama svog života i postaju fizički jače, stvarno sam bila ponosna što imam priliku da doprinesem.

Početak Girls’ LEAP

Girls’ LEAP je osnovana kao odgovor na seriju napada na žene i devojčice u Kembridžu tokom 1990-ih. Debora Viver i Pegi Beret zajedno su osnovale organizaciju sa ciljem da se odgovori na nedostatak resursa za mlade devojke u njihovoj zajednici. Razvile su kurikulum zasnovan na istraživanjima, koji je prilagođen fizičkim i socio-emocionalnim potrebama devojčica i nebinarnih mladih. Vremenom, kurikulum je proširen na različite teme, uključujući postavljanje granica, zdrave odnose, sajber zlostavljanje i podršku mentalnom zdravlju.

Girls’ LEAP nudi programe i radionice za mlade uzrasta od 8 do 18 godina. Takođe pružaju program zaposlenja na pola radnog vremena za vršnjačke edukatore, koji uključuje obuku, mogućnosti za liderstvo, akademsku podršku, kurikulum o društvenoj i rasnoj pravdi. Kroz obuku fizičke samoodbrane i razvoj socio-emocionalnih veština, devojčice i nebinarni mladi grade samopouzdanje, otkrivaju svoju fizičku snagu, pronalaze svoj glas, uspostavljaju granice, neguju zdrave odnose i rastu kao lideri. Pozitivni rezultati ove celovite metode vidljivi su kroz očigledne rezultate i statistiku.

Podsetili su me na Centar za devojke iz Niša o kome sam radila priču neposredno pred odlazak u Ameriku.

Svedočanstva

Moj prvi susret sa učesnicima programa bio je kada sam stigla u Boston početkom avgusta. Imali su čas joge koji sam snimala i fotografisala. Bilo je odmah očigledno da su ove tinejdžerke bliske i opuštene jedne sa drugima. Od tada sam aktivno učestvovala u mnogim njihovim aktivnostima. Takođe sam snimala i fotografisala brojne aktivnosti i intervjuisala trenutne i bivše učesnike. To mi je pružilo još dublji uvid u to kako je biti deo Girls’ LEAP-a.

Pogledajte Dijaninu priču.

A ovo je jedna od priča o bivšim učenicama.

Na kraju, tu je i predsednica Upravnog odbora Girls’ LEAP-a, Alkija.

Ovo su samo neke od priča koje sam snimila dok sam bila u Bostonu. Ali sve one govore o snažnim devojkama, ženama i nebinarnim osobama, koje su pronašle svoj glas zahvaljujući Girls’ LEAP-u i nastavljaju da pomažu drugima da pronađu svoj sopstveni.


What I did in the USA 2 – Girls’ LEAP

When someone tells you that they love themselves more after participating in a self-defense program, it’s something you need to delve into deeper. This is one of the first things teen mentors from Girls’ LEAP told me. Listening to their stories about how they were shy, not very social, and timid, and then witnessing their transformation into individuals who stand up for themselves and others, take on leadership roles in all areas of their lives, and become physically stronger, made me truly proud to have the opportunity to contribute.

The Beginning

Girls’ LEAP was established in response to a series of assaults against women and girls in Cambridge during the 1990s. Deborah Weaver and Peggy Barrett co-founded the organization to address the lack of resources for young girls in their community. They developed a research-based curriculum to cater to the physical and socio-emotional needs of girls and gender-expansive youth. Over time, the curriculum expanded to cover various topics, including boundary setting, healthy relationships, cyberbullying, and mental health support.

Girls’ LEAP offers programs and workshops for young people aged 8-18. They also provide a year-round part-time employment program for Teen Mentors, which includes training, leadership opportunities, academic support, social and racial justice curriculum, and a Speaker Series featuring women of color. Through physical self-defense training and socio-emotional skill development, girls and gender-expansive youth build confidence, discover their physical strength, find their voices, establish boundaries, foster healthy relationships, and grow as leaders. The positive outcomes of this holistic approach are evident in assessments and observed transformations.

They reminded me of the Center for Girls in Niš that I did a story about shortly before going to America.

The Testimonials

My first encounter with the program participants was when I arrived in Boston at the beginning of August. They had a yoga class that I filmed and photographed. It was immediately apparent that these teens were close and relaxed with one another. From then on, I actively participated in many of their activities. I also filmed and photographed numerous activities and conducted interviews with current and past participants. This provided me with even greater insight into what it’s like to be part of Girls’ LEAP.

Take a look at Diana’s story.

And this is one of the Alumnae stories.

In the end, here’s Girls’ LEAP’s Board Chair Alkia.

These are just some of the stories I filmed while in Boston. But all of them are about strong girls, women and non-binary people that found their voice thanks to Girls’ LEAP and kept helping others to find their own.