The Year of the Girl, Upcoming Events, Girls' Body Changes and Sports, & More

Spring  2016

In This Issue...

Note from the Director
Alliance for Girls Update

Member Spotlight
Voices of the Alliance
A Girl's Perspective
The World of Girls
     Women and Minorities Are
          Penalized for Promoting
     Breast and Body Changes are
          Driving Teen Girls Out of

Members in the News


For Members 

It was great to see so many of you at the conference in April! In case you missed it, we've uploaded the videos, executive summary, and photosIf you attended the conference and haven't filled out the survey yet, please do so here.

We're excited to share that registration for our fall workshops are now open! Check out the full list of events for 2016-2017 here and register now.

Looking for opportunities to develop professionally? Join one of our leadership committees! If you enjoy connecting with colleagues in the field, planning social events, staying ahead of current research and trends, or simply want to promote your organization/work, there's a place for you in our leadership! Email Kailin Chou at for more information.


Interested in sharing a story or op-ed, highlighting a girl, or being the next Member Spotlight? Our newsletter has more than 2,500 subscribers! Check out the guidelines on this page and
 contact Kailin Chou at .


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Alliance Events
(Full schedule of events here)

Save the Date: Summer Mixer
Tuesday, July 12
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location TBD

Girls' Socioemotional & Cognitive Development

Wednesday, September 7
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Girls Inc. of Alameda County

Webinar: Title IX & Gender Equity in Sports
Tuesday, October 4
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Our Relationship with Money
Tuesday, November 15
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Wetherby Asset Management
San Francisco

Community Events

The Women's Table featuring Saru Jayarman
Tuesday, June 7
5:30 PM - 730 PM
YWCA San Francisco

Bay Area Women's Summit
Tuesday, June 21
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Moscone Center North
San Francisco

Beat the Streets 2nd Annual Graduation BBQ 2016
Saturday, June 25
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Contra Loma Regional Park's Swim Lagoon

Self-Love & Beauty Embodied Workshop
Saturday, July 9
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Rudramandir Center

Mother-Daughter Circle Facilitator Training
Tuesday, September 13
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Center for Domestic Peace
San Rafael

Events & Summer Camps for Girls

Girls Leading Girls Summer Sessions
Art & Soccer Camp:
   June 6 - June 10
Environment & Soccer Camp:
   July 11 - July 15
Leadership & Soccer Camp:
   July 25 - August 12
8:30 AM - 3:30PM daily
San Francisco, location TBD

Girls Summer Camp
Standing Ovation:
   June 13-17
Creative Expression:
   June 20-24
Full STEAM Ahead:
   June 27-July 1
8:30 AM - 3:30 PM daily
Julia Morgan School for Girls

Summer Time, My Time
June 13 - August 15
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM daily
Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa County

Camp Reel 2016 Summer Sessions
Beginning Media Camp:
   June 20-24 (Session 1)
   July 11-15 (Session 2)
Advanced Media Camp:
   July 11-15
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM daily
Oakland School for the Arts

Adventure Riding Camp: Girls Only Week
June 27 - July 1
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM daily
Richmond Playground (meeting point)
San Francisco

Summer Camp: Green Design! Building Your Own Playground
July 18-22
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM daily
Curiosity Hacked Oakland Lab

Camp MakeHERS Summer 2016
Apprentice Makers Session 1
   July 24-27
Wizard Makers
   July 24-30
Apprentice Makers Session 2
   July 27-30

WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival
Saturday, October 15
All day
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco

We'd like to post more events that girls can attend. Please help us by submitting your events to 


The Research & Communications Committee

Alliance for Girls is grateful for the Research & Communications Committee for helping us put together the content of this newsletter. They are:

Helynna Brooke (Co-Chair) is the Executive Director of the
San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds, Inc where she focuses on advocating for appropriate mental health services for women and girls. Helynna co-founded the Red Web Foundation in 2003, following the creation of the First Moon Kit for celebrating the first period of a woman. The Red Web Foundation is on the bleeding edge of education and advocacy for healthy attitudes about the menstrual cycle.

Kelli Finley (Co-Chair) is the former Development Director of One Circle Foundation where she supported the expanding reach of Girls Circle, The Council for Boys and Young Men, and Women's Circle in the Bay Area and across the country. Prior to her work at One Circle, Kelli developed and ran a first-of-its-kind therapeutic program within the San Francisco County jails for children who have a parent that is incarcerated. Kelli holds a Master's degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.

Linn Hellerstrom works as the Public Education and Campaigns Intern at Futures Without Violence, where she is the community manager for teen dating violence prevention program That's Not Cool. Prior to her work for Futures Without Violence, Linn worked with policy advocacy for gender equality and women's rights issues in Sweden. In her spare time, she loves going on long hikes, testing new tasty recipes and exploring San Francisco.

Kara Sammet is the Research and Evaluation Manager at Techbridge, a national non-profit that strives to diversify the STEM workforce by empowering underrepresented girls to pursue STEM careers. She is passionate about supporting culturally-responsive initiatives and organizations that serve girls and women. Kara has a Ph.D. in Education from UC Berkeley with an emphasis on measurement and evaluation, and an undergraduate degree in Women's Studies. Kara has worked with girl-serving organizations for over 15 years, including as a consultant for Girls Leadership and as educational field staff for GirlVentures and Outward Bound.

Interested in joining the Researh & Communications Committee? Email Helynna at or Kelli at
to learn more.

Note from the Director

Dear Alliance Members and Friends,

At the end of April, we celebrated the Year of the Girl at our 4th Annual Conference with more than 350 attendees. Every year, the conference has grown at the rate of 50%—a dramatic testament to the collaboration, leadership and collective voice that is needed to move the girls' movement forward.

As I paused for a moment to look around the room, I thought about the core principles that are the spirit of the Alliance—Inclusiveness, Collaboration, Fearlessness, Self-Care, Participation—and I was once again impressed by how these principles are embedded in the work of all our member agencies and champions. This is how opportunity is created for girls; by respecting them, listening to them, and feeding their passions. By the end of the conference I could feel this spirit bursting out of the boundaries of the room.

We all know there is a lot of work to do, and I want to take a moment to congratulate all of the extraordinary and committed work being done by all of Alliance for Girls' members. Your day-to-day work is the center of change that will grow to encompass all girls. We could see that in the girls at the Conference, and I expect to see more of this as these girls and others like them grow into leadership.

I’m humbled to be working around such an incredible group of women; I wouldn’t be who I am today without the women who came before me. We’ll be doing our part at the Alliance to keep things moving forward, so check the calendar, use the member resources, engage with us and with each other as we continue to build a movement that ensures girls continue to grow, thrive, and reach their full potential.

Thank you, 

Emma Mayerson


Alliance for Girls Update

The Year of the Girl Conference

Last month, Alliance for Girls hosted its 4th Annual Conference: Year of the Girl, bringing together more than 350 girls' champions, including 60 girls, from across the country. That's a growth in attendance by more than 50% compared to last year! Together, we listened to leaders of the girls' movement, shared stories, strengthened leadership skills, and worked together in elevating the status of girls and young women.

We're excited to report the following results from the conference:

  • 350 girls' champions attended, representing more than 160 agencies. Attendees hailed from the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, New York, Texas, Florida, and Oregon.
  • Among attendees, 95% reported that the content of the conference was useful and relevant.
  • 94% reported that the conference will help them be a stronger champion for girls.
  • Most importantly, 96% of attendees believe in the vision set forth at the conference and want to be a part of making that vision become a reality.

Help us make next year's conference even better! If you attended the conference and haven't filled out the survey yet, please do so here. Anyone who completes the survey by the end of the week will be entered for a chance to win one of five copies of The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure by Caroline Paul!

If you missed the conference or need a refresher, check out the videos, executive summary, and photos.

The conference may be over but the girls’ movement is only getting stronger! Together we can ensure that every girl has the opportunities and support she needs to thrive. Join the movement by:

  • Becoming a member of Alliance for Girls. Whether you’re a service provider, parent, therapist, community leader or simply an advocate, help us continue the movement towards building a brighter tomorrow for girls by joining our community.

  • Participating in our workshops and events. This coming year, we’re hosting six incredible peer-led, members-only workshops on promising practices for serving girls best. Registration is now open for the fall!

  • Joining a leadership committee. Looking for opportunities to develop professionally? All members are invited to guide and lead the Alliance by joining one of the following committees: 1) Membership Engagement Committee or 2) Research and Communications Committee. If you enjoy connecting with colleagues in the field, planning social events, staying ahead of current research and trends, or simply want to promote your organization or work, there’s a place for you in our leadership!

Questions? Email Kailin Chou at for more information.

Member Spotlight: Gaia Girls Passages

Nature, an essential nutrient for healthy girls!

A group of girls learning to make fire.

For this issue's member spotlight, we're featuring Gaia Girls Passages, which provides circles of support through nature-based girls groups, summer camps, and individual rite of passage ceremonies for females ages 8-18 and their mothers. Learn about their unique program, as told by the Founder and Director Sarai Shapiro below:

"I was a creative, lively child. Everything turned into an artistic project. Fourth grade came, and something died in me. I remember approaching my urban brick school with bars on the windows feeling like it was jail. I began to learn that the world was not a safe place for my imaginative spirit.

My concerned parents brought me to get testing which revealed that my IQ had dropped, which is 'supposed' to stay the same throughout life. What was causing me to be less present, more inhibited, and by the measure of IQ, less 'intelligent' than when I was a young girl?"

I internalized the idea that there was something fundamentally wrong with ME, and thought that if I could improve myself, I would be back to my confident outgoing self. This feeling continued through college when I would constantly feel like I was “loosing myself.”

As an adult, I realized many women were still trying to figure out how to not “loose themselves” in relationships or work, and were battling the internalized voices that something was wrong with them.

It turns out that there were some key nutrients that we were all being starved of. When I graduated college, I learned the 8 shields model for cultural repair and nature connection that showed me how to find those nutrients. The more I felt at home in the natural landscape, the more I felt at home inside of myself!

This lineage goes back to one of the last Apache scouts before colonization and teaches key components in earth-based cultures around the world that support children to grow into life-giving, confident members of society. Nature is an ancient template for how to create a healthy and balanced eco-system. When modern humans took ourselves out of this system, we lost the template! No wonder we all felt/feel so weird!

For the past decade my work has rested at the intersection where re- generative culture, nature, and girls/women’s happiness meet. Gaia Girls Passages is two years old and we serve Bay Area girls through nature-based after-school groups and summer camps. Starting in third grade, when peer influences and pre-puberty is setting in, our circles create safety and sisterhood, within which we explore ourselves, each other and the natural world. Our “aunties” and mothers (or female care-givers) create inter-generational support. Sixth graders pass into the Rite Of Passage years, where we walk with them on the bridge from childhood into adolescence through honoring, offering, and challenges based in each element.

I know that the nutrients are working when the most common thing girls say about Gaia Girls is that it is a place where they can be themselves. We hope to serve more girls in the bay area and would love to partner with other organizations working with underserved populations who would benefit from this model. Our goal is to create a replicable model that can be used by other communities to serve their girls. Learn more about our programs by coming to our open house on June 5th at Tilden Park!

Voices of the Alliance

This section features the voices of Alliance for Girls' members. Check out snapshots of their entries below, and click the links to access their full posts. All of our members' entries are featured on Alliance for Girls' blog

Oakland Unified and Alliance for Girls Team Up to Disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline
by Rebecca Peterson-Fisher of Equal Rights Advocates

"Across the country, students of color - and black girls in particular - are suspended at much higher rates than white students. Suspension has the power to not only damage a student's future academic success, but, if repeated, can pose the risk of pushing a student out of school and into the criminal justice system.

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Alliance for Girls, a Bay Area organization that counts over 100 Bay Area girl-serving organizations as its members, have entered into an exciting new partnership designed to reduce suspension rates for girls of color and lift up their academic achievement.

With input from ERA and other member organizations, Alliance for Girls is informing the development of a district-wide equity policy in OUSD that will both set forth the district's vision and guide its allocation of resources going forward.
" Read about ERA's recent investigation into 116 school districts and how they're supporting the Alliance's partnership with OUSD here.

Professional Black Women are Dying for Inclusion
by Precious J. Stroud of BlackFemaleProject, originally published in Daisy Magazine

"Has your boss ever said:

'You oversold yourself during the interview.'
'You are not meeting expectations.'
'You don't know your place.'
'You go by that name at work?'
Or my favorite, 'You seem angry.'

If not, imagine hearing statements like these over and over again from the person to whom you report.

Now, imagine being a Black woman and hearing these statements from white bosses.

I've heard them all, and more.

For a long time, I thought I was the only one. The same cycle of experiences from one job to the next. I work harder, tow the political line, and change my name to get ahead. None of that worked.

Three years ago, I got a wakeup call." Read more about common workplace experiences Black women are grappling with here.

United State of Girls Summit & Rally
by Sandra Luna of Julia Morgan School for Girls

"Inspired by the United State of Women Summit taking place at the White House in June, Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service (GGLS), a before-school class at Julia Morgan School for Girls (JMSG), is hosting a United State of Girls Rally & Summit on Saturday, May 14, from 9:30 - 1:00.

We hope to have 100 middle and high school girls from public and private schools attend this special event. Our goal is to mobilize a national movement of teens 18 years and younger to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment and the girls attending will be those girls who are willing to take on a leadership position in getting the ERA passed. We plan to create a short video by the end of the event that we can send to the White House!

Remarkably, Gail Sheehy, feminist, best-selling author, and journalist will be giving the Keynote that morning. One of Ms. Sheehy's books, Passages, was named by the Library of Congress as one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th century.
" Read more about the inspiring summit and check out photos from the day of.

A Girl's Perspective

This section spotlights the unique perspectives of girls in the community. Their entries are also featured on Alliance for Girls' blog.

In this issue, we hear from Halliana, a junior at Burton High School who just completed Oasis for Girls' ENVISION Career Exploration Program this Spring. Oasis for Girls' Executive Director Jessica Van Tuyl interviewed Halliana about her experience at Oasis and her hopes for the future.

Interview with Halliana

Jessica: Why did you decide to join Oasis?

I kept staying after school to avoid going home, but I didn't want to participate in anything because I was afraid it wouldn't impact me. One of my friends was applying to Oasis, so I joined with her. At Oasis, I met other young women, we talked about our lives, and I realized I could actually trust people!

Jessica: What did you learn at Oasis?

Oasis has helped me broaden my perspective, showing me everything that is available to me as a young woman. I met professional women who are working in careers I never knew existed and they have helped me to realize that I can do anything! I use to be shy, but Oasis has also encouraged me to embrace who I am. Read more about Halliana's transformation here.

Do you know a girl who'd like to submit a piece for our next newsletter? Contact Kailin Chou at

The World of Girls

This section provides links and summaries of current news and reports surrounding girls and women from the past few months.

Women and Minorities Are Penalized for Promoting Diversity

Nearly 85% of corporate executives and board members are white men. This number that hasn't budged for decades, suggesting that white men are continuing to select and promote other white men. It is not uncommon for people to favor and promote people similar to them, but when women and minorities promote their own group, they are scrutinized in a way that white men are not. In a recent study, researchers at the Harvard Business Review compared the response to hiring decisions made by white males versus those made by women and minorities. They found that participants rated non-white managers and female managers as less effective when they hired a non-white or female job candidate instead of a white male candidate. Read more about the study in the Harvard Business Review here.

Breast and Body Changes are Driving Teen Girls Out of Sports

Girls tend to start dropping out of sports around the onset of puberty, a decline not mirrored by adolescent boys. In a study of 2,089 English schoolgirls ages 11 to 18, nearly three quarters listed at least one breast-related concern regarding exercise and sports. Girls were self-conscious about size and physically uncomfortable exercising if their breasts were large. While sports and physical education programs frequently recommend protective gear for boys, like cups, athletic supporters and compression shorts, comparable lists for young women rarely include a mandatory or even recommended sports bra. With 87% of girls wanting to know more about breasts and given that most of the breast concerns raised in the survey could be addressed via education, this study demonstrates a need for breast education for school girls, which may reduce the influence of the breast on sport and exercise participation. Read more about this study in the New York Times here.

Did we miss something? Email

Members in the News

Dr. Carol Langlois, therapist, youth advocate, and author of Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image, now has an audiobook  (Girl Talk) out through Girl Talk tells the story of 10 teen girls and their journey through high school. They discuss the challenges they face with self-esteem, bullying, boys, body image and more (each chapter is told from the point of view of a different girl). Great for ages 14-17. 

Pat Foster, Executive Director of Girls to Women and former East Palo Alto Mayor, was named the 2016 Woman of the Yaar for the 24th Assembly District of California. "Foster knows the needs of girls from low-income families and has transformed that awareness into Girls to Women, a critical after-school program to give girls critical academic and personal support," said Assemblyman Rich Gordon. Congratulations, Pat!

Silvia Vásquez-Lavado, Founder of Courageous Girls, was profiled in Peru's largest newspaper, El Comercio. The article focuses on her quest to be the first Peruvian woman to climb the tallest peaks on all seven continents and includes some great discussion of Courageous Girls. Check it out here. Follow her current summit to Mount Everest on Courageous Girls' blog here.

This follows Silvia's recent journey to Base Camp with young women/survivors from the Young Women's Freedom Center (SF) and survivors from Nepal. Read about their emotional, inspiring last day together here and check out the rest of their trip, starting from day one, here.

Last year, One Circle Foundation was in the news for being the first gender-responsive program in the country to demonstrate effectiveness in reducing delinquency for girls. Now, you can access the final report, recently released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which funded the evaluation. Check it out here.

The Red Elephant in the Room workshop on March 10th, produced by the Red Web Foundation and San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds, was fun and engaging. Many ideas were shared about ways to open up a discussion with girls about menstruation. Megan Hamilton, Program Director for Oasis for Girls shared her curriculum about attitudes about menstruation from around the world, and ice-breaking games to bust myths and misinformation. There were 25 attendees from a broad range of programs such as Clinic Without Walls, Girl Scouts, Kaiser, the Mama Sutra, SF Sheriff's Department, Dignity Health, Felton Institute, YMCA, and an aide to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, Vivian Ericson, who gave an overview of legislation AB 1561, which would make menstrual products exempt from sales tax.

Techbridge and Girl Scouts USA partnered to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning to over 2 million girls.  Together, they produced a white paper that includes learnings and recommendations for out-of-school STEM programming as well as working with non-STEM experts such as volunteers. Check out the white paper here.

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Alliance for Girls
510 16th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510.629.9464 | Fax: 510.318.5399