DAYS OF WORK BUILDS YEARS OF SUCCESS FOR GIRLS – SIA’s New Program “Dream It Be It – Career Support for Girls”
Hundreds of SIA Members provide days of curriculum to over 35,000 girls directed toward building years of career skills and confidence.
A blog by Dawn Marie Lemonds, Immediate Past President Soroptimist International of the Americas.
“For years women and girls facing obstacles because of their gender, or other issues including poverty and unstable homes, have been the focus of work provided in local communities throughout SIA’s twenty-one countries and territories for years. After much research, input from educators, and focus groups with members and girls themselves, SIA developed and launched its newest program- “Dream it Be It: Career Support program” curriculum, focus in 2015. This program delivers a curriculum designed for girls 14-18 years old and a few different “models” of styles for implementing the program including a Day Long Workshop, or a 7-8 Week Seminar series.
SIA made sure that the program was available for use throughout our territories – by translating all resource materials into the six languages of the Federation and made these accessible on the website. Members were provided with educational material about the program and all are asked to report on the details and outcomes of the program. Members had expressed a yearning to do more “direct” work with young women and wanted SIA to develop a “standardised” program that could be implemented by members themselves. They also saw the benefit of doing a program in “the same way” and work toward providing collective and positive measureable impact on girls!
In spite of some trepidation about member’s ability to quickly “take on” another new program, participation has exceeded our expectations. Within the very first year of launching there was already thousands of girls enrolled in and participating in this program. Each year the interest has grown by leaps and bounds and this year the total has exceeded 35,000 girls who have recieved the program in only three years from 1477 programs in 14 territories and countries we serve! Girls come from all neighborhoods and backgrounds but particularly from places like alternative schools, foster homes and afterschool programs.
Topics covered in the program include:
- Career opportunities
- Setting and Achieving goals
- Overcoming Obstacles to success
- Moving forward after setbacks or failures
Impact of the program is measured in averages of reports by the girls themselves:
- 90% Participants feel more confident about their future success
- 87% of the participants feel more prepared to pursue their career goals
- 82% of the participants say that Dream it Be it has provided them with new tools to overcome obstacles to their success
- 79% participants say that Dream it Be it has provided them with new tools to overcome setbacks
- 87% participants created achievable goals for their future
While the statistics are so gratifying and affirming, the reports of the girls and members themselves about the Dream it Be It (DIBI) program is what has made this a program that SIA is so very proud of. Here are just a few of the comments that have been made:
Girls/participants : Reports of the girls themselves is so gratifying. The girls report that they are so thankful to the many women who are willing to spend their time for them, meeting women and learning about the obstacles and challenges they have faced in attaining their careers and specifically meeting women from fields they are interested in. Many of the girls who participate are girls from very challenging backgrounds and have a limited support system and little confidence that their future might be more positive. After attending DIBI there is a much greater feeling of optimism by the girls.
Members: Members are thrilled to work directly with girls and have a meaningful, well developed curriculum to follow. Clubs have expressed a renewal of enthusiasm from members who enjoy seeing the direct outcome of their work. Younger members especially have expressed a yearning to do “hands on work” and very often can bring recent direct experience to inspire the girls. Mentorship with the girls after the program has increased. Each of the members I know that have worked with DIBI has stories of the girls that inspired them -“Don’t be afraid to work with us. We need you to learn from and help us in our journey of life”.
Schools/communities: Schools have expressed such gratitude to Soroptimists who are coming in and providing a service they are not able to do with the resources they have. This is evidence that it “takes a village to raise a child” and this village includes Soroptimists!
This program is “hands on, hands in” and in every way demonstrates that the cost of the program is mostly TIME – the most valuable of resources.
Soroptimists are working in their communities to build stronger girls doing programs that help them work toward becoming strong citizens in their communities”.
For more information – go to www.soroptimist.org
Find out more about the theme at http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/